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Santa Monica Police to Conduct DUI Checkpoint Friday


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By Lookout Staff

March 15, 2018 -- Santa Monica police will conduct a DUI checkpoint Friday at a time when California is experiencing a "disturbing" increase in crashes involving drug-impaired drivers, police said.

The Driving Under the Influence (DUI)/Driver’s License Checkpoint will be conducted between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location in the city.

"In recent years, California has seen a disturbing increase in drug-impaired driving crashes," said Lt. Saul Rodriguez, the Police Department spokesman.

"The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that 'DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.'”

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According to state safety officials, twice as many drivers are under the influence of drugs than of alcohol.

A study of active drivers found that 14 percent tested positive for drugs that may impair driving, double the 7.3 percent that tested positive for alcohol. Some 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes in California had one or more drugs in their systems, studies have shown.

"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 in a statement.

"Marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI."

At the most recent checkpoint, Santa Monica police arrested one driver for alcohol, another for drugs and two for a combination of alcohol and drugs, police data shows ("Santa Monica Police Make Four DUI Arrests During Checkpoint," February 12, 2018).

In addition, two motorists were cited for driving with a suspended or revoked license, police said.

Over the past three years SMPD officers have investigated 163 DUI collisions which have claimed two lives and resulted in another 56 injuries, Rodriguez said.

Drivers arrested for DUI face 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 can download the Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP,” free mobile app for Android or iPhone that helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the Santa Monica Police Department 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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