Articles Posted in NHTSA

The Yolo County DUI task force, the Avoid the 8, will be conducting additional patrols tonight in an effort to stop and arrest drunk drivers. Local police officers, sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers will crack down on DUI and impaired drivers with their aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort.

According to NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween is one of the deadliest holidays of the year. NHTSA says that 52 percent of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night from 2007 to 2011 involved a drunk driver.

Suspended license and DUI checkpoints and aggressive countywide DUI task forces are common throughout California. Funding for these drunk diving enforcement programs comes from the Office of Traffic Safety via grants from NHTSA.
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The City of San Rafael Police Department will be holding a DUI checkpoint tonight, from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. The checkpoint will be conducted on East Francisco Boulevard at Morphew Street in both directions.

Police departments throughout Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area run DUI checkpoints in an effort to deter DUI drivers and to keep unlicensed drivers off the streets. Drunk driving checkpoints are legal provided that the police follow guidelines including the giving of advance notice to motorists, the use of proper warning signs and lighting and a neutral based formula for stopping cars.

Friday night’s DUI checkpoint will be funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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Last Friday the San Rafael Department deployed an eight officer strike team from 4p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, to look for Drunk Drivers. At the conclusion of their DUI saturation patrol, after making 30 traffic enforcement stops, San Rafael Police Officers made only one arrest for driving under the influence. However, nearly half, 14, of the drivers pulled over were given field sobriety tests. Officers issued an additional sixteen moving safety citations, three citations to unlicensed drivers and arrested one person on an outstanding warrant.

The driver arrested for DUI was stopped for a loud music violation and subsequently found to have an alleged blood alcohol concentration of .10%. In California the per se legal limit for drunk driving is .08% or greater. As such, it is illegal for any driver with a blood alcohol level of more than .079% to drive a motor vehicle. Further, drivers under the age of 21 and drivers on probation for driving under the influence are prohibited from driving with any alcohol in their blood.

Police officers in Marin County and throughout California are trained to detect impaired drivers pursuant to standards set forth by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). The first phase of DUI detection involves the Police Officer’s observations of the vehicle in motion. NHTSA lists 24 visual cues for DUI detection and among them would be inappropriate or unusual behavior. Arguably, driving with amplified or loud music could be considered inappropriate behavior and could provide cause for an officer to make a traffic stop.
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On November 24, 2010, Santa Rosa Police Officers using grant funds provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, conducted a courthouse sting aimed at DUI drivers and drivers with suspended licenses or no driver license. The sting resulted in officers arresting four people for driver’s license related offenses.

The operation of the sting consisted of Police officers waiting and watching defendants, who had been ordered by the court not to drive due to suspended or revoked driving privileges, to see if they would get into cars and drive away from the courthouse. In all, officers followed ten such people out of court. Four of those ten people got into their cars and drove away from the Sonoma County Courthouse and were stopped by waiting police officers.

Driving on a suspended or revoked license can carry serious consequences if convicted. California Vehicle Code section 14601 et sec, details the various charges and punishments for driving on a suspension. Those punishments vary depending on the reason for the suspension. If a driver license is suspended for being a negligent operator or failing to appear in court a person may receive a reduced charge if they can get their driver license reinstated but they could be placed on probation and pay large fines if convicted. Drivers who lose their driver license due to driving under influence conviction face a minimum fine of $1,000.00, ten days in jail, and the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device if convicted of a violation of Vehicle Code section 14601.2 for driving while suspended.
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The Santa Rosa Police Department will be conducting a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint beginning this evening at 7:00 p.m. and ending at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday. The checkpoint will take place at an undisclosed location where police indicate a significant number of DUI-related collisions and DUI arrests have occurred.

Police checkpoints aimed at stopping people from driving under the influence and getting unlicensed drivers off the roads have become more common in recent years. Police Departments throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and California have been receiving grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to fund such checkpoints. This Friday’s DUI checkpoint is being funded by such a grant.

Court cases dealing with the legality of checkpoints mandate that cars entering a checkpoint will stopped based on a predetermined mathematical formula. If a driver who is stopped appears to the police to be driving under the influence they will be asked to pull into a screening area where officers will conduct a DUI investigation. The driver may then be asked to exit the vehicle and submit to field sobriety testing which may include the administration of a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device. Submission to field sobriety testing and/or a PAS breath testing device is voluntary and not required under California Law. However, if a police officer has cause to arrest a person for DUI they must submit to a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol concentration.
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Three people were arrested on Monday while driving away from the courthouse after being told by a judge not to drive.

Costa Mesa, Orange County, Police Officers, staked out sixteen offenders and followed them to the parking lot after they were instructed by a judge not to drive. Four of those people got behind the wheel and drove away from the courthouse. Officers stopped all four drivers and issued three citations for driving on a suspended license and one for driving while unlicensed. The sting was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

California drivers are subject to license suspensions for a variety of reasons including failure to appear in court or failure to pay fines, arrest or conviction for DUI, or being deemed a negligent operator for acquiring to many moving violation points. Depending on the reason for a suspension, a conviction can result in jail time, fines, the installation of an ignition interlock device and vehicle impoundment or forfeiture. Drivers may have the right to a DMV administrative hearing to contest their suspension.
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