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By Lookout Staff
March 14, 2019 -- The prescription drug a driver is taking may be legal, but driving impaired under its influence can result in a DUI, police are reminding Santa Monica motorists this week.
On Friday, between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. Santa Monica police will conduct a DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint in the city as part of the California Office of Traffic Safety “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze” campaign.
"In recent years, California has seen a disturbing increase in drug-impaired driving crashes," the Police Department said in a statement.
"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," police said.
Police note that marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.
A study of active California drivers found that 14 percent tested positive for drugs that may impair driving, double the 7.3 percent that tested positive for alcohol.
In 2014, collisions involving the use of alcohol led to 1,155 deaths and nearly 24,000 serious injuries in California, police said.
Between 2015 and 2018, SMPD officers investigated 163 DUI collisions, which have claimed two lives and resulted in another 56 injuries, according to the latest data.
Drivers caught driving impaired can expect a DUI arrest that can lead to jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and "other expenses that can exceed $10,000, not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out," police said.
Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP,” free mobile app for Android or iPhone.
"The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more," police said.
The app includes social media tie-ins, as well as a tab for the non-designated driver to call Uber, Lyft or Curb.
Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the SMPD by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1’.
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