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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Andrew Frankel, Sgt/PIO, (510) 981-5780

BPD: DUI/DRIVER'S LICENSE CHECKPOINT SCHEDULED FOR SAINT PATRICK'S DAY

Berkeley, California (Thursday, March 16, 2017) - The Berkeley Police Department Traffic Bureau will conduct a DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint on Saint Patrick's Day, tomorrow, March 17, 2017.  The checkpoint will address the southbound traffic on Telegraph Avenue at Stuart Street, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. 

Tragically, March 17th has become one of the nation's deadliest holidays. In fact, from 2010 to 2014, almost three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had BACs well above the .08 limit, with 266 drunk-driving fatalities total nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  

The deterrent effect of High Visibility Enforcement using both DUI checkpoints and DUI Saturation Patrols has proven to lower the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug impaired crashes.  Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized proactive DUI operations are conducted routinely. 

DUI Checkpoints like this one are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests, affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.   

In California, alcohol involved collisions led to 1,155 deaths and nearly 24,000 serious injuries in 2014 because someone failed to designate a sober driver.  Over the course of the past three years, Berkeley PD has investigated 219 DUI collisions which have resulted in 91 injuries.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment, with officers checking drivers for proper licensing, delaying motorists only momentarily.  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.  

Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems.  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.  

Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP, or "DDVIP," free mobile app for Android or iPhone.  The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more.  The feature-packed app even has social media tie-ins and even a tab for the non-DD to call Uber, Lyft or Curb.

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the Berkeley Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  We urge everyone to have a safe Saint Patrick's Day, and ask community members to report suspected drunk drivers by calling 9-1-1. 

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