When it comes to driving while intoxicated, California takes drivers who engage in this risky behavior very seriously. The penalties for driving while intoxicated are typically serious and can result in jail time for even a first time DUI. While it may seem like the state concentrates on punitive measures, that is not necessarily the case. Cities and counties across the state actively try and discourage DUI through checkpoints, saturation patrols, and public information campaigns. Each year, counties are awarded grants to engage the public and hopefully educate them on the dangers of drinking and driving, as the Ventura County Star reports.
Each year, the California Office of Traffic Safety disperses funds in the form of grants to various local agencies. The funds come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A major component of these grants is spent on DUI checkpoints, particularly on holiday weekends. Another large chunk is spent on overtime pay for officers. Some of it is spent on safety equipment like cones, lighting, and reflective vests.
While the main intent of DUI checkpoints is to remove intoxicated or illegal drivers from the road, it also gives officers an opportunity to educate the public on the dangers of drinking and driving.
The Oxnard Police Department uses some of the funds on awareness campaigns. One such campaign is the “Choose Your Ride” campaign. The campaign features a car whose paint job features one half being painted like a taxi and the other half being painted like a police vehicle.
Another program is the “Know Your Limit” campaign. Officers go out to restaurants and bars and offer free breathalyzers to the patrons. This helps to educate them on their blood-alcohol content and whether they’re safe to drive.
California received $84 million in grants this year. Two-thirds of the funding was allocated to fund overtime pay for law enforcement agencies to conduct DUI checkpoints.