The Long Beach Police Department’s (LBPD) Traffic Section will be conducting a DUI/Driver’s license checkpoint on Friday, December 21, between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. in the East Division area.
In recent years, California has seen a disturbing increase in drug-impaired driving crashes. LBPD supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you 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 persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug-impaired crashes. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized proactive DUI operations are conducted routinely.
DUI Checkpoints like this one are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests, affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (fatalities in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08 or higher) increased from 911 in 2015 to 1,059 in 2016.
In 2016, 15% percent of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes, who were tested, tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs.
Over the course of the past three years, LBPD officers have investigated 1,024 DUI collisions, which have claimed 10 lives and resulted in another 392 injuries.
Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment, with officers checking drivers for proper licensing, delaying motorists only momentarily. 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. Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment effects.
Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent 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 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.
LBPD offers these reminders to ensure you have a safe night of fun that doesn’t involve a DUI:
- Decide before you go out whether you plan to drink or drive. You can’t do both.
- If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver before going out or map out another safe way to get home by taxi, ride-share or public transportation. You can also look up designated driver services in your area using the National Directory of Designated Driver Services (NDDDS).
- See your friend or other patron impaired trying to get behind the wheel? Take the keys and help them make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.
- Report drunk drivers – Call 911.
People are encouraged to be a part of the designated driver very important person (“DDVIP”) program. As a DDVIP, you can ensure those drinking get home safely and get rewarded for it. Partnering bars and restaurants statewide have created non-alcoholic specialty drinks (“DDrinks”) for sober drivers: http://bit.ly/OTSDDrinks.
Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving (RADD) also offers a Designated Driver Rewards program at 43 college campuses statewide: http://collegeisradd.org/campus-partners/. Local bars and restaurants provide non-alcoholic drinks and/or food specials to DD’s.
Getting home safely is cheap, but getting a DUI is not! Drivers caught driving impaired and charged with DUI can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to be upwards of $13,500. This includes fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspension, and other expenses not to mention possible jail time.
Funding for this checkpoint is provided to LBPD by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.