Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Riverbank Police Services will be out in force, cracking down on impaired drivers with special DUI Saturation Patrols during the month of September and holiday weekends, including the upcoming Labor Day holiday, Friday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept. 1.
Riverbank Police Services is prepared to stop and arrest any drunk driver they see to keep roads safe. Officers have received specialized training for DUI and DUID, driving under the influence of drugs, which will help them identify and remove persons under the influence from local roadways.
Riverbank Police Services conducted a DUI Checkpoint on Friday, Aug. 15 where a total of 676 cars were screened, according to Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely. There were seven field sobriety tests conducted and one DUI arrest was made. Police also had an additional arrest that involved a subject with a felony theft warrant and a weapons charge who attempted to pass through the checkpoint unlicensed. Eleven drivers were cited for various license offenses with an additional five drivers that were cited for a suspended license and had their vehicles towed.
“I think it was successful, in that anytime an under the influence driver is taken off the street, it increases the odds that other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians using the same roadway will make it home safely,” stated Kiely. “Not to mention the DUI offender themselves. It was also successful in that it allowed for the apprehension of a wanted felon who was in possession of an illegal weapon.”
Having a sober driver is just the first step in keeping the night safe. They encourage everyone to continue using their seat belts, putting away their cell phones, following the rules of the road, and keeping an eye out for dangerous drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes nationwide. That accounts for one every 51 minutes. Over 800 of those died on California roadways. In 2011, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the nation and 31 percent (9,878) of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes. Californians witnessed at total of 2,835 deaths that year with 774 killed in DUI crashes on their streets and highways.
“Additionally, deputies reported that the vast majority of their contacts with people passing through the checkpoint were positive,” said Kiely. “It’s not unusual to have numerous motorists thanking the deputies for conducting the DUI checkpoint as they pass through it.
“This is always appreciated by the deputies, as it’s an immediate and positive reminder that they are supported by the public they are striving to serve.”
Drunk drivers often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towed, and collision repair, and lost wages due to time off from work. Even worse, a drunk driver can cause a traffic crash that claims someone’s life or their own.
Police encourage all motorists to follow these tips for safe driving: even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or worse, the risk of having a crash while driving, if you will be drinking, do not plan on driving, plan ahead, designate a sober driver before the party begins; if you have been drinking, do not drive, call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation; be responsible, if someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel; if you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life and inaction could cost a life.
Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Funding for the checkpoints is provided to Riverbank Police Services by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to continue to work together to bring an end to these tragedies. If you see a drunk driver, call 9-1-1.
If you have any tips, you can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters can also e-mail tips at http://www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus the message and be eligible for a cash reward.