The Gilroy Police Department’s Traffic Unit will conduct a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint Dec. 14 at an undisclosed location within the city limits.

“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,” reads a Dec. 6 press release from the Gilroy Police Department. “Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely.”

In California, DUIs led to 802 deaths in 2012 because someone failed to designate a sober driver, police said. Nationally, the latest data show that nearly 10,000 were killed by an impaired driver.

At the Dec. 14 checkpoint in Gilroy, officers will look for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment, as well as proper licensing—delaying motorists only momentarily, police said. Specially trained officers will evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving.

Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems, according to police. 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.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DUI 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, the press release continues. Nearly 90 percent of California drivers approve of DUI checkpoints.

DUI checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests, affording officers the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence, police said. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.

Motorists caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes and other expenses that can exceed $10,000—not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out, police warned.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the Gilroy Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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