Milpitas police to target impaired drivers with DUI checkpoint

Milpitas Police Department’s traffic unit will conduct a driving under the influence/driver’s license checkpoint from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, May 24 on Great Mall Parkway. 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, according to police. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive patrols are conducted routinely, according to law enforcement. In California, this deadly crime led to 802 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 were killed by an impaired driving. “Over the course of the past three years, we have investigated 127 DUI collisions with 28 injuries, which included one fatal collision,” Milpitas police Sgt. Raj Maharaj said. Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking drivers for proper licensing delaying motorists only momentarily. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving. Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 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...

Despite law, vehicles often not impounded in repeat DUI cases

Law allows officers to impound vehicles of some repeat offenders SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —The financial burden that comes with getting a vehicle out of impound is one of the ways the state of California hopes to deter drunken driving. California law states that the car of anyone driving under the influence in the past 10 years who is pulled over on suspicion of DUI can be impounded. Watch report: Vehicles often not impounded in repeat DUI cases But a KCRA 3 investigation found the law isn’t used often. KCRA 3 obtained the number of vehicles impounded for repeat DUI offenders from several Northern California police departments. Many departments have not impounded a single car in the last four years, including Stockton, Roseville and Folsom. Modesto has impounded fewer than five. The city of Sacramento, however, has impounded 106. KCRA 3 also asked departments to provide data on how many repeat DUI offenders qualified for impound because they were arrested during the 10-year time period. The Roseville Police Department, which was they only agency to provide data, said officers had arrested 20 such drivers in the last four years. None of those drivers had their cars impounded. Other agencies, including Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto police departments, said they did not have the records available. The Stockton Police Department, meanwhile, told KCRA 3, “Officers do not typically know about prior DUI arrests or other criminal histories when making decisions about whether to impound a vehicle.” The majority of other departments said they either didn’t have any data, or couldn’t collect the data. One of the biggest departments in Northern California, San...

Feds reject design for undocumented immigrant licenses

The Department of Homeland Security has rejected DMV’s first design effort for a driver’s license card for undocumented immigrants, the L.A. Times reported today. The Feds say the design is too close to that used by citizens, and the decision sends the design back to DMV for a do-over. The photo is from the signing ceremony of A.B. 60 which gave undocumented immigrants the ability to apply for driver’s license in...

Authorities worry about drugged driving after new pot law takes effect

Maryland needs more trained police officers to combat problem, prosecutors say Maryland prosecutors are concerned that the new law eliminating criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana will result in an increase in “drugged driving” that police are ill-equipped to handle. “It is inevitable that there will be an increase in drugged driving in Maryland,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “We’d better be ready.” Maryland’s decriminalization law, which makes possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil violation, takes effect Oct. 1. Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger and other prosecutors wanted state legislators to delay passing the law until such consequences could be better studied in Colorado and Washington, where voters legalized marijuana use in 2012. Colorado authorities are more aggressively addressing drugged driving, and Maryland officials should take notice, McCarthy and Shellenberger said. Colorado Department of Transportation officials launched a public education campaign in March called “Drive High, Get a DUI” featuring comical commercials about people who are high on marijuana and have no business driving. “We have seen an increase in drugged driving,” said John Jackson, first vice president of the Colorado Chiefs of Police Association. The evidence has been largely anecdotal, but his organization is receiving funds from state taxes on marijuana sales to train more officers as drug recognition experts. “We want to get ahead of the curve.” Colorado wants to expand the number of drug recognition experts from 212 to 300 over the next year, said Glenn Davis, Colorado’s highway safety manager. The costly training process takes nearly two weeks. The Maryland State Police employs 28 drug recognition experts and...

Assessing a DUI suspect starts with the eyes, progresses to the breath

April 26, 2014 11:00 PM Comments 0 Glenn Osmundson/The Providence Journal DUI suspect George F. Daniels Jr., 47, of Providence, takes a preliminary breath test after being stopped by Providence police on suspicion on DUI on April 11. 1 of 2   After pulling over a motorist, a police officer questions the suspect and then administers a Standardized Field Sobriety Test. It is an assessment of a suspect’s mental and motor skills that consists of three familiar exercises: the tongue-twisting horizontal gaze nystagmus (inability to track), in which the suspect’s eye movements are checked by waving a finger or pen back and forth and up and down; the heel-to-toe walk and turn; and the one-leg stand. Clues are taken from each of the exercises to conclude whether there is sufficient evidence of impairment to establish the probable cause necessary to continue to detain and evaluate the individual, explained Richard T. Sullivan, a former Providence police chief who, as state law enforcement highway safety training coordinator, teaches officers at the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy. With the one-leg stand, for example, if the suspect is swaying and hopping, failing to keep the leg up and holding his arms out for balance, he fails that element of the test. The field sobriety test is applicable whether someone is suffering impairment from alcohol or another kind of drug, although there are additional telltale signs of nonalcohol impairment that an officer certified as a drug recognition expert would look for, according to Sullivan. If an officer has a preliminary breath tester, he uses that next. It is a battery-operated instrument resembling an...

Colorado DMV Investigated for Offensive Computer Passwords

No surprises here for those of us who routinely work with DMV. Fox31 in Denver broke the story that hearing officers who are supposed to be impartial are using very anti-motorist passwords for their computers. Hearing Officers were using passwords such as “URSkrood,” “CryMrRvr,”...