Backed by a new traffic safety grant, the Novato Police Department plans to conduct a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint Friday, a night when lots of people plan to attend holiday parties.
As usual, no location will be announced ahead of time. Lt. Oliver Collins said the checkpoint would be between 6 p.m. Friday and 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
DUI checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence based on collision statistics and DUI arrests. Collins said locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.
The checkpoint is funded through the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The goal is to reduce the number of victims killed and injured in alcohol-involved crashes, the department said.
“Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have resulted in many injury crashes harming many of our family and friends,” Chief Jim Berg said in a release.
Locations of checkpoints are not announced in advance because it helps encourage drivers to stay sober and not circumvent the checkpoint area.
Collins said research proves a 20 percent reduction in crashes involving alcohol if checkpoints are publicized well and conducted often.
The sobriety and drivers license checkpoint will be staffed by personnel trained in the detection of alcohol and/or drug impaired drivers. The officers will be equipped with state-of-the-art hand-held breath-testing devices that provide measure of blood-alcohol concentrations of suspected drunk drivers. All drivers will be asked to produce a valid driver’s license as they pass through the checkpoint.
Drivers caught driving impaired can expect jail time, license suspension and insurance premium increases as well as fines, fees, required DUI classes other expenses that can exceed $10,000.
Novato police announced this week that a new $42,000 grant was secured to help the department keep streets safe through education about impaired driving and traffic enforcement.
“In 2010, the City of Novato has unfortunately seen an increase in DUI related traffic collisions and we are committed to bringing down those numbers,” Berg said. “This grant will help us achieve that goal.”
If anyone suspects a drunk driver on the road, that person is urged to call 911 to help law enforcement identify drunk drivers before they injury themselves or others.