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Don't Chance It: Sobriety Checkpoint Tonight

Holiday partiers need to designate a sober driver; New traffic safety grant secured by Novato police.

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. 

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Dave Robertson December 21, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I don't have a problem with sobriety checkpoints. The problem is that on nights like tonight they add a potential extra hour if you want to go out amongst the people shopping for the holidays. It's like a double time-waster - long lines and the possibility of being stuck in a checkpoint line for an hour. Why can't funds be increased to increase staffing to make these checkpoint lines shorter. I know it's cliche - but time is money.
Will Lamers December 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
We must go through different checkpoints, because I've not seen any delays like that before. I think that nights like this are the perfect time to have checkpoints. What better time than when people may be drinking and driving? If it makes people think about it and perhaps think twice about driviing impaired, I find that any delay is worth it.
Sue Payne Farley December 23, 2012 at 11:49 PM
I agree with Will, great time to have a check point. I went through this checkpoint and it was very quick, no delay at all. I'd love to see even more check points out there. Let's keep those awful drunk drivers off the road! Thanks NPD.

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