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Berkeley DUI Checkpoints

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November 04, 2017
Edward Smith

berkeley dui checkpoint

DUI Checkpoints in Berkeley

Accidents due to drunk driving are common and often turn deadly. Berkeley is taking steps to end drunk driving with DUI checkpoints such as the one on October 29-30 where Cedar Street meets San Pablo Avenue. The use of DUI checkpoints has been lauded by some as an efficient way to curtail drunk or drugged driving.

DUI Checkpoint

A Berkeley Police spokesperson said that the October checkpoint and others are aimed at fostering public awareness of the dangers of taking either prescription medications or illegal drugs and getting behind the wheel. This includes over the counter and prescription medications that warn against driving as well as marijuana, which dulls the ability to drive. Officers with special training to detect driver impairment are on the scene at checkpoints.

Choosing a Checkpoint Site

Authorities choose checkpoint sites carefully, including using the following parameters:

  • Areas, where a high number of crashes happen, are a critical focus in choosing a site
  • Sites where DUI stops and arrests are frequently made
  • Areas where a DUI checkpoint does not deleteriously affect public or police safety

The San Pablo Avenue and Cedar Street location, for instance, is in the North Berkeley area, close to UC Berkeley, and many crashes happen on Friday nights into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Checkpoints Useful in Reducing Impaired Driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DUI checkpoints are effective at reducing drunk and impaired drivers negotiating the roadways. In the years between 2003 and 2012, approximately 10,327 Californians were killed by drunk drivers. Overall, male drivers aged 21 to 35 were most often involved. The use of checkpoints has been found to reduce approximately 20 percent of drunk driver accidents.

California Initiative

A campaign championed by the California Office of Traffic Safety aims at making drivers aware of the dangers of impaired driving in addition to those of driving drunk. Stressing that impaired driving is not just about alcohol, initiative spokespeople say that the same consequences exist when the law against impaired driving is broken; such as a possible $10,000 fine, insurance price hikes, and restricted driving. Citing an increase over the 2014 incidence of drivers who used drugs and drive, officials say it is important that drivers become aware of this problem.

Medications and Marijuana 

Over the past decade, the use of prescription and over the counter medications has increased. This includes prescription sleeping pills and muscle relaxants, anti-depressants and allergy medications. Experts warn to pay attention to label warnings as some of the drugs can impair driving abilities.

While marijuana can be used in the privacy of the home or in specific public establishments, it is illegal to use it and drive. Marijuana has been shown to slow reaction time, reduce decision-making ability and affect balance and movement, particularly coordination. Using this substance and driving shortly afterward, particularly in the first 60 minutes, increases the potential for a crash two times. Drinking while taking drugs can enhance the depressant effects of alcohol, magnifying the effects of both and making for exceptionally dangerous situations on the road.

Related Articles by Berkeley Car Accident Lawyer, Ed Smith:

Berkeley Car Accident Lawyer

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Photo Attribution: Pixabay, Police Cruisers by BruceEmmerling. CC0
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