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The Los Angeles Police Department has received a grant to combat drunk driving and hold sobriety checkpoints, including one scheduled on Friday, Jan. 21 on Vermont Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets.
Funding for checkpoints is provided to the LAPD by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The checkpoints are a proven law enforcement tool effective in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol involved crashes. Officers will be checking drivers who pass through the checkpoint for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. and proper licensing. If officers suspect that a driver has been drinking or is impaired, they will conduct field sobriety tests.
A conviction for drunk driving now includes jail time, fines and fees that can exceed $10,000. First time convicted drunk driving offenders also are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their cars under a pilot program in California that was initiated by State Assemblymember Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles).
Statewide, overall traffic deaths have declined by 23 percent, from 3,995 in 2007 to 3,081 in 2009. The most recent year that statistics are available. Total traffic fatalities are at their lowest levels in six decades, when the federal government began compiling figures. Driving under the influence deaths declined by 16 percent, from 1,132 in 2007 to 950 in 2009, according to federal statistics. Alcohol impaired deaths still make up the largest category of overall vehicle fatalities, with 31 percent of all deaths caused by a drunk or impaired driver.
“Everyone in California should be heartened with these figures,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). “But as encouraging as this is, we can’t let up on the efforts to encourage and support traffic safety.”
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