Fourth of July Safety

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative 

Brentwood Police Department’s (BPD) traffic unit will conduct a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint Friday, July 12, between 7 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. on Sand Creek Road at Shady Willow Lane.

California has seen an increase in drug-impaired driving crashes in recent years. The BPD supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety, which aims to educate drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Individuals taking prescription drugs, particularly those with driving or operating machinery warnings on the label, might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.

The deterrent effect of high visibility enforcement using both DUI checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols has proven to lower the number of people killed and injured in alcohol or drug-impaired crashes. Research shows crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced up to 20% when well-publicized, proactive DUI operations are routinely conducted.

DUI checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and DUI arrest frequency, affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunken and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for officers and the public.

In California, alcohol-involved collisions led to 1,155 deaths and nearly 24,000 serious injuries in 2014 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Over the past three years, BPD officers have investigated 52 DUI collisions which have resulted in 16 injuries.

Officers will look for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment and check drivers for proper licensing. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.

Studies of California drivers have shown 30% of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14%) than did for alcohol (7.3%). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4%, slightly more than alcohol. Everyone should be mindful that if taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment effects.

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the BPD by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to “Report Drunk Drivers – Call 9-1-1.”

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