The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department DUI Enforcement Team plans to increase its patrols and checkpoints to stop and arrest alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers during the New Year’s weekend.
From 6 p.m. to 2 p.m. this weekend, deputies plan to deploy DUI Saturation Patrols and DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoints in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions or arrests.
Officials said these extra deputies and routine patrols are aimed at reducing impaired driving on the community’s roadways.
“We did have one last week and then we’re having another one tonight. We’ll have one extra officer out tonight doing a DUI Saturation Patrol,” Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Sgt. Scott Shoemaker said Thursday. “Then over the weekend we will have our regular DUI Enforcement Car… out on his normal patrol shift.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, along with state and local officials, are also working to inform the community of the dangers of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) and that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.”
The message is taking on an increased importance this New Year when California begins licensing commercial, non-medical marijuana sales Jan. 1, under provisions of Proposition 64.
“It has taken more than 35 years to convince the vast majority of the public that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, illegal and socially unacceptable,” said Rhonda Craft, director of the Office of Traffic Safety in a statement. “With more dying on our roadways every day, we can’t afford to take that long when it comes to driving under the influence of prescription medications, marijuana, illicit drugs and even some over-the-counter medications.”
In addition to marijuana, a driver could be subject to a DUI arrest if they are under the influence of prescription medications like sleep aids, tranquilizers, barbiturates, opiates and other painkillers, antidepressants, and even over-the-counter allergy or cough medications.
Law enforcement agencies—police, sheriff and CHP—are also training officers in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE).
These trainings supplement the Field Sobriety Test to help officials identify what substances a driver may be impaired by and how seriously they are impaired.
Since 2012, a roadside survey in California showed more drivers tested positive for drugs that may impair driving than for alcohol. Overall, 14 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs and 7.3 percent tested positive for alcohol.
Of the drugs, marijuana was the most prevalent at 7.4 percent of drivers.
As a driver, plan ahead with these tips:
- Arrange rides home for your friends, family, co-workers and yourself before the drinking begins.
- Identify and provide free non-alcoholic drinks or other promotional items to the Designated Driver.
- Party hosts and servers must limit drinks to your guests or patrons. Don’t serve more than one or two over several hours.
- Cut back on the amount of drinks you plan to bring to the party – and provide plenty of food.
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