Gordon Tokumatsu, Bobbie Eng
Studies have shown that DUI crashes caused by drug use, as opposed to alcohol, are on the rise. As people get ready to hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, SoCal authorities are getting ready to set up DUI checkpoints. Police are checking for both alcohol impairment, but impairment related to drug use. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 24, 2013.
Police are cracking down on motorists suspected of driving drunk during the Memorial Day Weekend.
Starting Friday night, Southern California police agencies plan to set up checkpoints in areas that have seen a high number of DUI -related arrests and collisions.
LA police planned to set up at six locations across the city.
DUI checkpoints were planned in the Orange County cities of Rancho Santa Margarita, Buena Park, Placentia, and Cypress through the weekend starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.
Checkpoints were planned in at least 17 other locations including Ventura, the Inland Empire, and Victor Valley.
Motorists caught driving under the influence face jail time, a suspended license, increased insurance rates and fines, officials said.
The checkpoints come at a time when drug-related road fatalities have jumped 63 percent over the last decade while alcohol-related fatalities have dropped.
Drug-related fatalities jumped 63 percent, going from 428 in 2000 to nearly 700 in 2010. Drug-involved crashes that resulted in injuries jumped 24 percent, going from 1,917 in 2000 to 2,372 in 2010, according to California Department of Motor Vehicles statistics.
There were 1,071 DUI-related traffic fatalities in California in 2010, down 13 percent from 2000. DUI-related crashes that resulted in injuries dropped 22 percent. There were 24,206 in 2010 compared with 30,971 in 2000.
DUI arrests jumped 8 percent statewide in the same period, going from 181,336 in 2000 to 195,879 in 2010, statistics show.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said checkpoints are the most effective enforcement tool in the fight against drunken driving.
“DUI checkpoints have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed since 2006 in California,” Christopher J. Murphy, the director of California’s Office of Traffic Safety, said in a statement. “But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one third of traffic fatalities, Los Angeles needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that checkpoints provide.”
View Memorial Day DUI Checkpoints 2013 in a larger map