DUI checkpoints save lives and dollars. I was happy to hear about the DUI checkpoint conducted by the Santa Monica Police Department on April 19. Far too many people in our community get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. We all know it’s true. As a longtime resident of Santa Monica and mother who has raised children here, safety is a very important issue to me. I have seen and read about countless alcohol-related car crashes in the community over the years. I am encouraged to see the Santa Monica Police Department taking the issue seriously.
I am on the board of directors of an organization that has been preventing alcohol-related problems throughout the country for more than 20 years. While I am only mildly familiar with the work they do, I do know that routine DUI checkpoints with high visibility in the news can have a substantial deterrent effect, preventing people from committing a crime in the first place. They also send a message that as a community, we consider drinking and driving to be unacceptable.
I know it’s much easier to hop in the car and drive home after a night out than it is to call a taxi, or to rely on a designated driver. But this inconvenience pales in comparison with the consequences that can result from drinking and driving. In too many cases it’s not just about a financial penalty — it can mean taking or ruining lives. As a community, we can set a higher standard for behavior. DUI checkpoints help accomplish this.
It’s also a money issue. Research shows every dollar invested in DUI checkpoints saves cities between $6 and $23 in costs from alcohol-related crashes. In other words, DUI checkpoints can actually lessen Santa Monica’s significant financial burdens.
So thank you, Santa Monica Police Department, for putting your resources into DUI checkpoints. They keep us all safer and encourage us to engage in behavior we know is right.
Westside Impact Coalition member