OAKHURST — Oakhurst Area CHP implemented a Driver’s License/DUI checkpoint near McDonalds on southbound Highway 41 last Saturday night, with 514 vehicles passing through over the five-hour operation.
To keep things running smoothly, officers were positioned along the center divide, and as drivers pulled up, three to four cars at a time were screened. If the backup got too long, cars were allowed to pass through without a check, keeping the traffic moving with a minimum of delay and inconvenience to motorists.
About one out of five of the vehicles passing through the checkpoint were stopped. Officers let them know it was a sobriety/driver’s license checkpoint and asked to see their driver’s license, and inquired whether or not they’d consumed any alcohol that evening. Officers had about 30 seconds at each window to check licenses and establish whether they observed any signs or symptoms of intoxication.
If officers determined that further interaction was needed, drivers were directed out of the roadway to the screening area. On this night, there were eight DUI evaluations conducted. No arrests were made, and no vehicles impounded.
Sgt. Ethan Jackson headed up the operation, assisted by officers from Oakhurst area, Madera and Fresno, along with five new CHP Senior Volunteers.
“Even though traffic was heavy because of the holiday, the check point went smoothly and we appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation,” said Sgt. Jackson. “The results of the check point clearly show the CHP’s message of traffic safety and the dangers of DUI are being heard. With DUI still being one of the leading causes of traffic collisions, it is encouraging to see such awareness in eastern Madera County. I hope everyone enjoyed a safe Memorial Day as we honored our veterans.”
These checkpoints also give officers a chance to do public relations and make contact with members of the communities they serve.
Motorist should be aware that DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” and that is not limited to alcohol. Marijuana and prescription medications can impair drivers and lead to arrest.
Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000, not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent. Nearly 90 percent of California drivers approve of DUI checkpoints.
DUI Checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.
Funding for this checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to “Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911.”