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Santa Monica Police to Conduct DUI Checkpoint

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

April 17, 2014 – Santa Monica Police will be conducting a checkpoint on Friday to identify and remove motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or without a valid driver’s license.

The Santa Monica Police Department’s (SMPD) Traffic Unit will set up the checkpoint at an undisclosed location within the city limits between the hours of 7 p.m. and 3 a.m.

“The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes,” said Sgt. Jay Moroso, SMPD spokesman. 

“Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely,” he said.

During the checkpoint, trained officers will be looking for telltale signs of alcohol and drug impairment as well as valid driving credentials.

“This will only result in a momentary delay for motorists,” said Moroso.
Motorists caught driving impaired can expect a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes and other expenses that can exceed $10,000, according to the police.

Recent statistics show that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems, according to the authorities. 

A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for illegal drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than for alcohol (7.3 percent).  Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

In California, DUIs have led to the deaths of 802 people in 2012, according to State officials.  Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 were killed by an impaired driver.

"Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions in Santa Monica have claimed one life and resulted in 67 injury crashes harming 95 of our friends and neighbors," said Sergeant Phillbo Rubish.

Checkpoints have proven to be the most effective DUI enforcement strategy and save $6 for every $1 spent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nearly 90 percent of California drivers approve of DUI checkpoints.

Those who plan to drink should have a designated driver or call a taxi cab, said police officials.

Funding for the operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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