WALNUT CREEK (KTVU) -- As shoppers take to malls and shopping centers this weekend, several Bay Area law enforcement agencies are also operating check points to look for impaired drivers.
Several cities, including Martinez, Novato, Petaluma, and Walnut Creek, were conducting DUI checkpoints Friday night even as the Christmas holiday shopping season shifted into high gear. At the Broadway plaza in Walnut Creek Friday night, shoppers filled the air.
The trees were festively decorated and Santa was full of joy as he spent time with some special boys and girls. For their parents and other adults at the shopping spot, they were spending their time looking for the perfect gift for those who matter most.
"I probably got three more people to shop for, just my mom left and my sister (and) possibly one other person," said Salomon Leon of Walnut Creek.
Cache LeBlanc of Brentwood said she was shopping for her children and several of her god-children. "I also donate clothing and toys to the battered women shelter in San Jose," she said.
With Christmas just a week from Sunday, some say the holiday itself is a gift.
"As long as I get to be with like people I want to be with I don't care what day it is," Leon said.
"I'll be shopping all this weekend," LeBlanc said. "I'll be done by Sunday."
The holiday season also ushers in festive parties and people who may be tempted to drive under the influence of alcohol.
From now through the New Year, many Bay Area police departments will be out in full force to crack down on drivers who may be driving impaired.
"We just do a little wine and we head home. My wife is going to drive by the way so I'll be safe,” says JR Alvarez of Oakley.
Said Leon: “I don't plan to be out myself but for other people who are out. Hopefully they all stay fairly responsible.”
"It does worry me to an extent but I'm sure there are plenty of checkpoints,” said Kevin Delrosairo of Pinole.
By KTVU reporter Paul Chambers.