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UPDATE: DUI checkpoint planned in Santa Clarita on Friday

Posted: February 19, 2014 12:20 p.m.
Updated: February 19, 2014 5:31 p.m.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station will conduct a checkpoint Friday evening to get drunken or unlicensed drivers off the road.

The checkpoint will run 6 p.m. Friday to 1:30 a.m. Saturday inside Santa Clarita city boundaries, but its exact location was not revealed.

“The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol- or drug-involved crashes,” sheriff’s officials said in a news release announcing the Friday night event.

“Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.”

Funding to conduct Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department checkpoints is provided through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The administration says such 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.”

A Sheriff’s Department DUI checkpoint set up in Saugus on the night of Dec. 20 netted two drivers suspected of being impaired, two sent to court for driving without a license, and three cars impounded for 30 days.

More than 1,100 drivers passed through the checkpoint on Railroad Avenue north of Oak Ridge Drive.

Locations for checkpoints are determined based on maximum enforcement and maximum safety for both law enforcement and drivers, traffic safety administration officials said.




LosRubios: Posted: February 19, 2014 2:53 p.m.

I wonder if they'll now be checking how full each driver's windshield washer reservoir is filled during the stop now that we have a drought? Would be kind of fun to fill the washer reservoir with beer instead of water and give the windshield a quick squirt before rolling to a stop at the checkpoint with the car smelling of booze instead of the occupants. --edited.

stevehw: Posted: February 19, 2014 3:01 p.m.

I predict 2 arrests (up from the usual 1). Bonus prediction: between 1,000 and 1,100 cars stopped and innocent people questioned.

And don't forget to download the Mr Checkpoint app for your phone:

Of course, it's usually not hard to figure out where they are even without the app...

chico: Posted: February 19, 2014 3:33 p.m.

Los Rubios - excellent idea, I'll try Smirnoff to honor the Russian olympics

DMeyer: Posted: February 19, 2014 4:21 p.m.

The ones that do get captured are extremely dangerous, they're too drunk to use stevehw's DUI helper app and they can't even see a checkpoint has been set up until they are trapped in the funnel. I'm glad that those 2 drunks will be sitting in a jail cell instead of cruising around on our roads when some of us are coming home from work, school, a movie or a nice dinner.

Not to mention all of the idiots on the roads with suspended drivers licenses, impound their cars too please.

Rick54: Posted: February 19, 2014 7:24 p.m.

The best part of these announcements are the comments. Always entertaining.

SingleMomOfOne: Posted: February 20, 2014 9:15 p.m.

Could it be someplace on Soledad, close to the bowling alley? Or on Whites Canyon? Pick someplace other than out here in Canyon Country...seen and called in several badly swerving cars on Newhall Avenue, Copperhill or Bouquet Canyon...mostly in some of the higher end neighborhoods and usually BMWs or Mercedes...

bobforte: Posted: February 20, 2014 7:02 a.m.

True Rick. They are entertaining.

I will agree though with Steve. More drunks could be taken off the road if the resources were spread out to do normal DUI enforcement. But, the grant money allocated to thise does not allow it. The money has to be used at checkpoints only.

offramp: Posted: February 20, 2014 8:52 a.m.

Sorry, bob, but you're wrong. Patrols are meant to catch active drunks, get them off the streets and prosecute them. Checkpoints are highly visible, highly publicized events meant to deter drinking and driving in the first place.

Patrols have little deterrent value, but high enforcement value. Checkpoints have been shown to have the potential to lower DUI fatality rates by up to 20 percent by virtue of their deterrence. People go through them, drive past them, hear about them via multiple grapevines and get the ongoing impression that drunk driving is dangerous, socially unacceptable, and that law enforcement is actively looking for it.

They are both good tactics and both should be in the arsenal of DUI combating tactics, along with others. In terms of catching drunks, nothing beats patrols. In terms of saving lives, nothing beats checkpoints.

stevehw: Posted: February 20, 2014 9:00 a.m.

"Checkpoints have been shown to have the potential to lower DUI fatality rates by up to 20 percent by virtue of their deterrence."

The studies which are used to support this are old, and not particularly well done.

"Patrols have little deterrent value..."

I'm aware of no study which supports this.

offramp: Posted: February 20, 2014 10:36 a.m.

"The studies which are used to support this are old, and not particularly well done."

The 38 studies that were included in the two meta-analyses done by the Centers for Disease Control ranged from 1980 (old) to 2012 (new), and performed by institutions ranging from universities to national traffic safety agencies. Each passed the CDC litmus testing for properly administered research. The levels of decrease in fatal crashes ranged from a low of 3.5% to a high of 26%.

"I'm aware of no study which supports this."

You are correct in your observation. I based my statement on what could be considered common sense or observational logic. When a driver passes a single vehicle traffic stop, all they see is a police car and a regular car. They may or may not see either an officer or a civilian. And, to the point, they have no idea whether that stop is for DUI, bank robbery, speeding, or a burned out brake light. The observer has no reason to be deterred from any specific action based on seeing the patrol stop. If it is a DUI, then the driver stopped certainly has a reason to be deterred from any future DUI. That may apply to the 5, 10 or 15 drivers caught by the 2, 3 or 4 patrol officers, but not to the other thousands who are aware of checkpoints.

stevehw: Posted: February 20, 2014 10:43 a.m.

I don't have time at the moment, but I did some research a while back on that CDC meta-analysis. There were quite a few critiques (it included data from non-US agencies, it included some very poorly run studies, etc.). I'll see if I can find the reviews I located earlier.

"I based my statement on what could be considered common sense"

Common sense is often wrong. Without any data to back it up, you have no idea if DUI patrols are effective, ineffective or even counter-effective. It is possible that highly publicized DUI saturation patrols could be more effective than DUI checkpoints. As far as hard data, it's certain they'd result in more arrests.

One thing we do know...DUI checkpoints certainly are effective at detaining innocent citizens and subjecting them to police interrogation with no reasonable suspicion.

offramp: Posted: February 20, 2014 11:59 a.m.

Certainly there were non-US agencies. I am not a US chauvinist thinking that only we have accurate scientific procedures. For the reviews you are searching for, please keep them to scientific, not political, reviews. There are many who don't like DUI checkpoints for personal, philosophical or political reasons, not empirically statistical valid reasons.

And, as a postscript, driver surveys show that roughly 89 percent of California drivers approve of DUI checkpoints. That's a pretty big margin, even politically speaking.

stevehw: Posted: February 20, 2014 1:21 p.m.

Yes, other countries can do studies...but they may (probably do) have a completely different set of legal principles, constitutional rights, etc.

I'd not try to use a non-scientific review or study to discount a scientific one.

It doesn't matter what percentage approve of them. For one thing, that's going to have zero impact on their effectiveness (however that is measured).

Virtually any law enforcement "tool", no matter how egregious, will have some percentage of people approving of it. Look at "stop and frisk"...essentially random, warrantless, suspicionless detentions and searches of people by the cops. Plenty of people think that's just a grand idea.

I have no doubt that a pretty good chunk of America would support just about anything if it's sold under the "it'll keep us safe" line.

offramp: Posted: February 20, 2014 1:48 p.m.

You are correct in your observations. Opinions on "freedoms" versus "safety" run the entire gamut, from those who would welcome a cop on every doorstep and ubiquitous scrutiny, since they "have nothing to hide," to those who espouse pure anarchy, where every individual can act and do as they please with no regard or answering to others or society. I'm a pragmatist who samples both sides and the middle, depending on the action and it's likely, logical results.

stevehw: Posted: February 20, 2014 3:04 p.m.

"the grant money allocated to thise does not allow it. The money has to be used at checkpoints only."

Here's where I have to ask...did someone hold a gun to their head and force them to take the money?

Of course, if they turned it down, all those deputies would lose out on that easy overtime pay.

bobforte: Posted: February 20, 2014 3:34 p.m.

NO dispute Steve. You are right. But again, I always ask. Would you turn down overtime money?

boneshark: Posted: February 20, 2014 4:22 p.m.

You're correct Rick, the comments are always entertaining when it comes to this subject. And I'm repeatedly amazed at how many sheepeople support these checkpoints as though surrendering our rights is somehow a benefit for the greater good (to paraphrase Rehnquist). Bahhhh Bahhh Bahhh!

stevehw: Posted: February 22, 2014 10:33 p.m.

Bouquet Canyon and Plum Canyon

cuervoatlaplaya: Posted: February 24, 2014 2:45 p.m.

Why is it not considered a success that 2 people driving under the influence were removed from the street before harming or killing someone else's family or friends. Seems like a success to me!

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