DUI checkpoint planned Monday in city

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comMay 23, 2013 

Members of the Los Banos Police Department are asking people to be safe on the roads this holiday weekend.

Police officers will be looking for people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol by conducting a DUI/driver's license checkpoint from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday at an undisclosed location within city limits.

According to police, DUI checkpoints are a proven resource in reducing the number of people killed or injured in alcohol- or drug-involved crashes.

Los Banos police said crashes involving alcohol can drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often.

"From 2010 to 2012, DUI collisions claimed one life in our community and resulted in 47 injuries to our friends and neighbors," said Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. "Operations like this aim to reduce these senseless tragedies and bring awareness to our community about the dangers of driving under the influence."

Funding for the checkpoint is provided to the Los Banos Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Officers will be inspecting drivers passing through the checkpoint for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. Officers will also check drivers for proper licensing and will strive to delay motorists only momentarily, police said.

When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving. Motorists caught driving impaired can expect jail, license suspension and insurance increases, as well as fines, fees, DUI classes, and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

In 2011, nearly 10,000 people were killed nationally in motor vehicle traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. In California, driving under the influence led to 774 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver.

"DUI Checkpoints have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths," Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, said in a news release.

Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached by phone at 388-6563 or by e-mail at cpride@losbanosenterprise.com.

Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached by phone at 388-6563 or by e-mail at cpride@losbanosenterprise.com.

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