Okay folks, you know the drill: there will be a few DUI/Driver’s License checkpoints this weekend. The first will be an Orange County Sheriff’s Department tonight (Aug. 16) at “an undisclosed location on the border of the cities of Lake Forest and Mission Viejo,” according to the OCSD’s Aug. 14 news release. That checkpoint will start at 7 p.m. and shut down at 3 a.m.
Santa Ana PD will also conduct a DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint Friday night (tonight) in the area of 1500 E. McFadden Street, that department announced on Aug. 16. That checkpoint will go up at 9 p.m and shut down at 2:30 a.m.
Another will come courtesy of the Garden Grove PD and will be at Euclid Street and Stanford Avenue in Garden Grove on the night of Saturday, Aug. 17. That checkpoint will open at 9 p.m. and close at 3 a.m.
Newport Beach Police will also put additional officers on the road between Aug. 16 and Sept. 2 as part of the nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, according an Aug. 14 news release from that department.
“Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment, with officers checking drivers for proper licensing, delaying motorists only momentarily,” states an Aug. 13 press release from the Garden Grove PD. “When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.”
Garden Grove PD estimates that the impact of a DUI arrest can include incarceration, DUI classes, license suspensions, and fines, fees, and expenses totaling $10,000 or more. Undocumented immigrants caught in such checkpoints often face far worse sanctions. According to the OCSD, “1,120 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes on California roads” in 2017.
“Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems,” states the Garden Grove PD press release. “A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol. Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication–whether prescription or over-the-counter–drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects.”
Funding for the checkpoints comes from grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, administered through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.