The Elk Grove Police Department was recently awarded a $54,000 grant to combat drunken driving and the resulting deaths and injuries that occur on roadways.
From the California Office of Traffic Safety, the "special DUI checkpoint grant" will provide money to target impaired drivers, as well as educate the public on the dangers of impaired driving through DUI/driver's license checkpoints, according to a news release. And when possible, specially-trained officers will be on hand to evaluate people suspected of drug-impaired driving, the EGPD stated.
"This grant will ensure that our department continues to take a proactive role in locating and identifying those drivers who choose to drive impaired," EGPD Chief Robert Lehner said in the release.
Drunk and drugged driving are among America's deadliest crimes, the department stated, with Elk Grove alone marking three deaths and 46 injuries in 2011 as a result of such crashes. In California, there were 791 people killed and more than 24,000 injured in alcohol and drug-impaired crashes in 2010, the EGPD stated.
"Crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough," the release stated. "Checkpoints have proven to be the most effective of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent."
Such checkpoints are a critical part of the reduction in DUI deaths seen in California from 2006 to 2010, stated Christopher Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one-third of traffic fatalities, Elk Grove needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that this grant will provide."