The Santa Maria Police Department Traffic Bureau, in partnership with the Santa Maria office of the California Highway Patrol, will be conducting two DUI/driver’s license checkpoints on Saturday between the hours of 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. The DUI checkpoints will be held in two distinct locations within Santa Maria.
DUI checkpoints are a proven enforcement tool effective in reducing the number of people killed and injured in alcohol involved crashes. 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. Officers will also check for proper licensing and will strive to delay motorists only momentarily.
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 Santa Maria alone, between September 2009 and September 2012, 423 DUI collisions have claimed 4 lives and resulted in 120 injury crashes, harming over 168 of our friends and family members," traffic Sgt. Jesus Valle said. "Don’t take the risk.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 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. Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunken and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public.
“Deaths from drunk and drug-impaired driving are going down in California,” said Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “But that still means that hundreds of our friends, family and co-workers are killed each year, along with tens of thousands who are seriously injured. We must all continue to work together to bring an end to these tragedies. If you see a drunken driver, call 9-1-1.”
Funding for these checkpoints is provided to the Santa Maria Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, targeting those who still don’t heed the message to designate a sober driver.
— Jesus Valle is a traffic sergeant for the Santa Maria Police Department.