Labor Day may be a week away, but to police officers, the season for impaired driving is already here. Across California, the annual Labor Day weekend DUI crackdown started early, with police stepping up checkpoints and patrols as early as last weekend. So if you plan on enjoying a few drinks as the summer comes to a close, make sure you plan for a safe ride home before you head out.
The California Office of Traffic Safety extended the holiday DUI campaign to 18-days this year. As part of their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” together with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), law enforcement across the state is preparing a high visibility campaign intended to cut down on impaired driving. From Friday, August 21st through Labor Day (September 7th), the police, highway patrol, and sheriff's departments will be coordinating their efforts to reduce drunk driving through a combination of public service announcements, sobriety checkpoints, and increased officer patrols.
In fact, a couple of checkpoints already took place this last weekend, right here in the East Bay. On Friday, August 21st, police held a sobriety checkpoint in the area of Fremont Boulevard and Stevenson Boulevard from about 7pm to 3am. On Saturday, Oakland police held a DUI checkpoint in the area of San Pablo Avenue and 36th Street. Other areas may see sobriety checkpoints popping up this weekend through next weekend.
According to the NHTSA, in 2013, 38% of fatal car crashes on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Almost 27% of those accidents involved a driver with a BAC of 0.15% or higher, nearly twice the legal limit. With an increased number of sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols over the next couple of weeks, the police are hoping the public won't take a chance on drinking and driving.
One of the primary purposes of announcing and utilizing DUI checkpoints is for the deterrent effect. The NHTSA notes that traffic accidents involving alcohol drop by about 20% when checkpoints are regularly used, and well-publicised. These are purported to be the most effective DUI enforcement strategy, saving $6 for every $1 spent.
Checkpoints are supposed to be located in an area that will achieve the goal of deterrence, where it will be safe for the public and law enforcement. For driver's stopped at a checkpoint, officers may check to make sure the driver has a valid license, and are not showing signs of alcohol or drug impairment. If they do, then they may be evaluated further, and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Don't end your summer with a DUI arrest. At Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing DUI and other charges in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands DUI law, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.