Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies with the Traffic Unit are holding a DUI checkpoint Friday, from 6 bp.m. to 2 a.m., said Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
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Checkpoints are placed strategically in areas where Traffic Unit deputies see the highest incidence of drunken driving, as well as being safe for the public and officers. (Video from a recent checkpoint)
For the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station patrol area, deputies have seen a decline in DUIs in recent years, which officials attribute in part to checkpoints.
DUI arrests by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies dipped for the second straight year, said Sgt. Rich Cohen, head of the station's Traffic Division, but deputies plan to keep up their enforcement efforts.
There were 660 DUI arrests in 2012, there were 639 in 2011 and 431 last year, marking a steady decline.
"We are glad that the number has come down -- however, that number is not low enough," Cohen said. "We're shooting for zero."
Roughly the same number of DUI arrests were made daily in Los Angeles County during the December 2012 holiday period as in 2011, according to data from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The county's 100 law enforcement agencies made 2,168 drunk-driving arrests during the 17 days from Dec. 14 to Jan. 1, or 127.5 per day. A year earlier, 2,433 arrests were made over 19 days, or 128 per day.
The crime of impaired driving is a serious one, according to a Sheriff’s Station statement.
In 2010 alone, 791 died in California DUI crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal limit.
The age group with the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes was the 21- to 24-year-old age group.
Over the past three years, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s has investigated 212 fatal and injury DUI collision; countywide – 730 individuals were killed in drunk-driving wrecks, the statement read.
The objective is to send a clear message to those who are considering driving a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and/or drugs: if you drive buzzed, drunk, or impaired by drugs you will go to jail.
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, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Those arrested for DUI will face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Their insurance rates go up. Other financial hits include attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job or job prospects. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.
The checkpoints are funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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