Drivers be warned: The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) will conduct a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint this evening at an undisclosed location. At this checkpoint, officers will be checking not only to make sure people are not driving under the influence (DUI), but also if driver’s licenses are valid.
Checkpoint stop operations are part of an ongoing campaign to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol involved crashes, police officials say. DUI checkpoints are conducted to identify offenders and remove them from the street, as well as bring awareness to our community of the dangers of impaired driving. Statewide, overall traffic deaths declined by 23 percent, from 3,995 in 2007 to 3,081 in 2009. Total traffic fatalities are at their lowest levels in six decades. DUI deaths declined by 16 percent, from 1,132 in 2007 to 950 in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
Officers from the Santa Monica Police Department will be contacting drivers in the City of Santa Monica to confirm their sobriety and driver’s license status since unlicensed drivers are over-represented in fatal crashes. This is the third of several checkpoints to be conducted over a twelve month period.
This particular checkpoint marks a departure from previous ones, in that SMPD are keeping the location of this stop a secret. In the past, the media was notified where officers were conducting the checkpoint. Officials in the department said their reasoning for withholding the location is two-fold: The first reason is to minimize the location from being broadcast on websites that publish where checkpoints are located for as long as possible; and the second reason the location is withheld is an attempt to counter activist who target checkpoints. Certain groups have been known to seek out checkpoints to assert their constitutional rights and refuse to cooperate at the checkpoints while filming the their interactions with officers.
The Santa Monica Police Department reminds drivers if you plan on drinking, have a designated driver or call a taxi cab to take you safely home. For more information please contact Sergeant Jeff Wiles at the Santa Monica Police Department Traffic Enforcement Section at 310.458.8950, or the Public Information Officer, Sergeant Richard Lewis at 310.458.8462.
Funding for this operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.