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Press Contact: Byron White, Berkeley Police Department, (510) 981-5780


Berkeley, California (Wednesday, May 25, 2016) -  On May 20th, 2016, theBerkeley Police Department Traffic Bureau hosted a Sobriety Checkpoint atTelegraph Avenue and Stuart Street.  Funded by through a grant from the California Office ofTraffic Safety, Berkeley Police officers worked alongside California HighwayPatrol officers to operate the checkpoint, detect impaired drivers,and enforce laws related to vehicle safety.

A completely preventable crime,impaired driving in Berkeley has resulted in loss of life and serious injury,incidents all too-well known to our community and to BPD officers. SinceJanuary 2012, alcohol-involved crashes have claimed four lives in the City ofBerkeley. In 2014 alone, nineteen people were injured in DUI crashes.

During the 5 ½ hour operation, thedrivers of all 760 vehicles which drove through the checkpoint werecontacted.  Of those vehicles, officers conducted 22 Field Sobriety Tests,made 3 arrests, issued 13 citations, and impounded 3 vehicles after their driverswere arrested.

When we conduct a checkpoint, ourgoals are to conduct the checkpoint in the safest and most efficient manner,promote public safety, increase public awareness of the dangers associated withimpaired driving, and serve as a deterrent to potentially impaired drivers.

Community members may wonder howDUI Checkpoints are operated. DUI Checkpoints are required by law to adhere toa number of standards. For example, motorists are selected to stop by a neutralcriteria (e.g., every car is stopped, or every 5th car is stopped,etc). Checkpoints are publicized in advance, and are designed to be very visible to approachingtraffic. They must be reasonably located, well-planned, and employ adequatesafety precautions. Checkpoints are well lit, with large additional lightingequipment deployed and set to illuminate the checkpoint.

During the checkpoint, officersbriefly contact motorists to look for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment,and check drivers for proper licensing.  When possible, specially trainedofficers will evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving—drug-impaireddriving now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes,including a major injury collision involving a cyclist in February this year inBerkeley.

BPD’s work with the CHP on DUIcheckpoints is only one element of our work to make the streets safer for ourcommunity. Patrol officers often make DUI arrests, especially at night. Infact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recentlyhonored several BPD officers for their DUI enforcement workin 2015—Officers AndresBejarano, Megan Schaefer, Darren Kacalek, and Devin Hogan combined to make over110 impaired driving arrests.

We are emphasizing the preventable nature of drunk anddrug-impaired driving in order to remind our community members that all ittakes, to avoid impaired driving—and potential disaster— is a little planningahead. Designate a sober driver, call a cab, or use a ride-sharing service… butwhatever you do, don’t drink and drive.


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