Dec 272012
 

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — DEC 27, 2012 –

The West Sacramento Police Department has announced that it will operate a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint on Friday, Dec. 28, somewhere in city limits. At the checkpoint, motorists will be screened for signs of intoxication and their licenses will be checked. The checkpoint will last from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., reports Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the WSPD.

“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,” Sockman added in a press release. “Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.”

“Officers will be contacting drivers passing through the checkpoint for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment,” said Sockman. “Officers will also check drivers for proper licensing and will strive to delay motorists only momentarily. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect jail, license suspension, and insurance increases, as well as fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000.”

  In 2010, over 10,000 people were killed nationally in motor vehicle traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. In California, this deadly crime led to 791 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver.

“Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed 2 lives and resulted in 34 injury crashes harming 44 of our friends and neighbors (in West Sacramento)” , according to Sockman.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent. Based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests, DUI checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.

“DUI Checkpoints have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed since 2006 in California,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety, in a press release. “But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one third of traffic fatalities, The City of West Sacramento needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that checkpoints provide.”

In previous years, West Sacramento officers have told the News-Ledger that they often announce such sobriety checkpoints in advance — while keeping the location secret — in order to provide a deterrent for drunk driving. There’s always an available detour for those who wish to go around the checkpoint, they have said — and this detour helps ensure the checkpoints do not create a situation of unlawful, mandatory searches.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke