A driver's license and DUI checkpoint is planned in Santa Maria from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday.

Santa Maria Police Department Traffic Bureau officers will be contacting drivers passing through the checkpoint for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. Officers will also check for proper licensing and will strive to delay motorists only momentarily. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect jail, license suspension and insurance increases as well as fines, fees, DUI classes and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough. DUI checkpoints are a proven enforcement tool effective in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol-involved crashes. 

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. Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunken and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the NHTSA, targeting those who do not heed the message to designate a sober driver.

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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