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Santa Monica Police to Conduct DUI Checkpoint

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By Lookout Staff

August 8, 2014 -- Santa Monica Police will conduct a checkpoint Aug. 16 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 Traffic Unit will set up the checkpoint at an undisclosed location within the city limits from 7 p.m. to 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 Rudy Camarena, the Police Department spokesman.

In 2012, impaired drivers were responsible for 802 deaths in California and nearly 10,000 deaths were attributed nationwide to motorists driving under the influence, according to the latest data.

During the checkpoint, trained officers will be looking for telltale signs of alcohol and drug impairment as well as valid driving credentials. People caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

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 people, said Sgt. Phillbo Rubish.

“DUI Checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence,” police officials said. 

They added, “Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving.”

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.

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. 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, police officials said.

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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