Motorists on a busy Hollywood thoroughfare Saturday night encountered a roadblock aimed at getting drunk drivers off the road, authorities said.
The roadblock, set up on Santa Monica Boulevard at Tamarind Avenue at about 8 p.m., was the Police Department's first use of the controversial method to combat drunk driving since the state Supreme Court upheld the use of checkpoints in October.
Police stopped every third or fourth driver passing through the checkpoint, looking for signs of intoxication, Lt. Lyman Doster said. The roadblock was scheduled to run until 3 a.m.
"Drunken driving causes some very serious accidents. People are maimed or lose their lives," Doster said. "This is supposed to be a joyous time of year, not the time of year people have to be mourning the death of a loved one."
Police and the California Highway Patrol suspended the use of sobriety checkpoints when lawsuits were filed to test the constitutionality of the roadblocks.
The state Supreme Court ruled in October that the use of checkpoints to combat drunk driving outweighed the inconvenience to sober drivers, clearing the way for holiday roadblocks throughout the state.
This year, police have recorded 579 serious accidents in the western regions of the city, which ranges from the coast to East Hollywood and from Mulholland Drive to the north to Imperial Highway to the south. Last year, there were 581 accidents, Doster said.