In attempt to make the roads a little safer one car at a time, the Bishop Police Department will be checking for drunk and unlicensed drivers via a checkpoint this weekend.
Officers will be stopping all traffic on an undisclosed road Saturday, Feb. 26 between 8 p.m. and midnight to ensure motorists are following traffic laws.
“DUI checkpoints are a proven enforcement tool effective in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol involved crashes, as well as being an valuable means for heightening awareness of the dangers of impaired driving,” Officer Jared Waasdorp said in a press release.
Statewide, overall traffic deaths declined by 23 percent, from 3,995 in 2007 to 3,081 in 2009, the press release states.
According to federal statistics, total traffic fatalities are at their lowest levels in six decades, when the federal government began compiling figures. DUI deaths declined by 16 percent, from 1,132 in 2007 to 950 in 2009. Alcohol impaired deaths still make up the largest category of overall vehicle fatalities in 2009, with 31 percent of all deaths caused by a drunk or impaired driver.
“Everyone in California should be heartened with these figures,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “But as encouraging as this is, we can’t let up on the efforts to encourage and support traffic safety. You can help make your community safe; if you see a drunk driver – call 9-1-1.”
According to Waasdorp, on Saturday, officers will be checking drivers for signs of alcohol and or drug impairments, proper licensing and will strive to impact motorists only momentarily. If officers suspect that a driver has been drinking or is impaired, they will conduct a field sobriety test. Those who fail, Waasdorp said, can expect jail time, vehicle storage fees, license suspension, insurance rate increases, along with fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000.
Funding for this and other DUI checkpoints is provided to the Bishop Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, targeting those who still don’t heed the message to designate a sober driver.