San Marcos joins DUI checkpoint craze

Escondido police conduct a DUI checkpoint/Waldo Nilo

Shhh…Spoiler alert. Not really, The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department wants everyone to know something is happening there, but the location shall remain hush-hush undisclosed.

Joining a countywide trend, Sheriff’s deputies will conduct the following:

“On Friday, August 19, 2016 from 7:30 p.m., to Saturday, August 20, 2016 at 2:30 a.m., deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s San Marcos Station will be conducting a Sobriety and Driver’s License checkpoint in the city of San Marcos,” officials said.

“The checkpoint will consist of D.U.I. and Drug Recognition Expert (D.R.E) trained deputies who will be evaluating drivers’ abilities to safely operate motor vehicles if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As part of the checkpoint, all drivers passing through the checkpoint will be checked to make sure that they have a valid driver’s license.

“This checkpoint is funded by a grant through the California Office of Traffic Safety. The Office of Traffic Safety and local law enforcement urge drivers to “Report Drunk Drivers. Call 911.”

At least deputies are announcing this one in advance. Another DUI checkpoint was held without public ado the evening of Friday, Aug. 12 around San Marcos Boulevard and S Bent Avenue,

While the Sheriff’s Office didn’t disclose the current round of checkpoint funding, a similar program at Escondido took in a $309,726 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) awarded Nov. 9, 2015 for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.

DUI checkpoints are authorized in 38 states. Checkpoints generally net relatively few drunken-driving arrests, but police and other experts say they have deterrent and educational value.

“DUI checkpoints are proven to be effective at deterring drunk drivers,” said Barbara Harsha, former executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “The goal is not to write tickets or make arrests but rather to remind the public that they should drive sober or face serious consequences.”

Critics of sobriety checkpoints say that they are less effective than random patrols and that they encroach on civil liberties. Some police argue that if drivers can pinpoint the locations of DUI checkpoints, some will drink all they want, and then drive on roads that skirt the crackdowns.

Roving DUI patrols also are considered more cost effective. “Each roving patrol costs about $300, while a single sobriety checkpoint can cost between $8,000 and $10,000,” said Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute,

“States should resist enforcement measures that try to catch drunken drivers in the checkpoint traps they already know to avoid,” Longwell said. “Instead, let’s use our tax dollars and our police officers more efficiently by utilizing roving patrol.”

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