The state renewed grant funding for Marin County’s DUI task force, an effort that targets drunken driving and is responsible for checkpoints throughout the county.
The $200,000 grant, approved by the California Office of Traffic Safety, was awarded to the San Rafael Police Department and will focus on those who get behind the wheel after drinking too much or using drugs that impair driving, according to police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher. San Rafael will administer the grant for the entire county.
Officers will staff DUI and driver license checkpoints, multi-agency DUI task force deployments and local saturation patrols. The funding will also go toward repeat DUI offenders with warrant and probation sweeps.
A San Anselmo checkpoint in September resulted in four DUI arrests and 25 traffic citations.
In August, local officers conducted a court sting where they stopped suspected offenders who left court and drove away, disobeying their DMV suspension orders or a judge’s court order not to drive without a valid license. Officers made 15 traffic stops that yielded in 14 citations and one arrest. More stings are expected with the funding.
A large part of grant funding will go to checkpoints – highly visible, highly publicized events meant to make arrests and prevent impaired driving in the first place. Crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough, Rorhbacher said in a release. 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 yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent.
“[The anti-DUI campaigns] have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed from 2006 to 2010 in California,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the office of traffic safety. “But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one third of traffic fatalities, Marin County needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that this grant will provide.”
Agencies participating in the task force include:
- Belvedere Police
- California Highway Patrol
- Fairfax Police
- Marin Community College Police
- Marin County Sheriff
- Mill Valley Police
- Novato Police
- Ross Department of Public Safety
- San Rafael Police
- San Anselmo Police
- Sausalito Police
- Tiburon Police
- Twin Cities Police
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