Davis police receive grant for DUI enforcement

In November, the Davis Police Department (DPD) received an $80,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in order to prevent instances of driving under the influence (DUI).

The DPD will distribute this grant throughout Yolo County and use it to fund its “Avoid the 8” DUI Task Force, a program which is dedicated to reducing DUI-related incidents. The initiative will include the participation of the city of Davis, Woodland, Winters, West Sacramento and UC Davis police departments, as well as the Yolo County Probation Department and Yolo County California Highway Patrol.

The DPD staff have said that they define their task force title as a warning to drivers.

“The ‘Avoid the 8′ DUI Task Force is named to send the message that if you don’t drink or use drugs and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the eight participating law-enforcement agencies in the county,” said Landy Black, chief of the DPD.

The task force’s main course of action is the issuance of highly advertised DUI/Driver License Checkpoints. At the checkpoints, drivers are inspected for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment, as well as for legitimate licensing, in order to reduce the number of under-the-influence drivers. Operations like this have already been performed in Yolo County in August.

According to a study conducted by the NHTSA, use of enforcement checkpoints are not only cost-efficient but also produce positive results.

“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,” said DPD sergeant Rod Rifredi in a press release.

The department staff said that these inspections have proved to be considerably effective in preventing under-the-influence driving incidents.

“Crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough,” Rifredi said.

The profound outcome of DUI prevention has encouraged local officials to take immediate action. The DPD chose to spend this grant on DUI enforcement due to the fact that DUI Task Forces in California have significantly reduced drunk and drugged driving related deaths from 2006 to 2010.

“Since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one-third of traffic fatalities, Yolo County needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that this grant will provide,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety.

Money will also be contributed to performing Court Sting Enforcement Operations in order to catch known DUI offenders in the act. The criminals who repeatedly ignore court orders and continue driving with suspended licenses are the targets. Warrants and probation hearings will be distributed once the perpetrators are arrested.

WENDY CHAO can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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