Some commuters traveling through Vernon last Friday found themselves in a mess of trouble, caught up in a Vernon Police Department checkpoint staged to get drunk, drugged and unlicensed drivers off the road.
With just days until Christmas and New Years celebrations are in full swing, the checkpoint Dec. 15 on Soto and 37th Street resulted in 7 arrests, Vernon police said in an emailed statement.
Checkpoints “are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public,” police said.
The checkpoint was open from 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
While DUI and Driver’s License checkpoints are routine in the city, they take on a new urgency with the recreational use of marijuana becoming legal on Jan. 1.
“If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI,” police said. “Marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI,” the department added in written statement.
According to police, studies of California drivers have shown 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.
Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspension and other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.
Vernon police “will continue to enforce DUI related offenses in our ongoing commitment to lowering deaths and injuries upon our streets and highways,” the department said.