RPD combats tragedy with DUI checkpoints

A $27,500 traffic safety grant boosted the Ridgecrest Police Department into a heightened anti-DUI program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on our roadways.

Additional enforcement measures to combat impaired driving are a result of the recent grant awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety to Ridgecrest.

“The Ridgecrest Police Depart-ment is dedicated to keeping our streets safe through both enforcement and education,” said Sgt Mike Myers in a press release last Wednesday. “The special DUI Checkpoint grant will assist in efforts to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol and other drug related collisions in the community.”

“DUI checkpoints have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed from 2006 to 2010 in California,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety.

“But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one third of traffic fatalities, Ridgecrest needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that this grant will provide.”

The grant activities will specifically target impaired driving offenders as well as educating the public on the dangers of impaired driving through the use of DUI/driver’s license checkpoints.

When possible, specially trained officers will evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving.

Drunk and drugged driving are among America’s deadliest crimes.

In 2010, 791 people were killed and more than 24,000 injured in alcohol and drug-impaired crashes in California. Crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough. Checkpoints have proven to be the most effective of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent.

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminis-tration.

Story First Published: 2012-11-21