PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — If you plan on hitting up happy hour Friday you better sober up before getting behind the wheel because Santa Monica police officers will be conducting a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint that night as part of an ongoing campaign to reduce the number of people killed or injured in alcohol-involved crashes.

SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis said this will be the third DUI checkpoint to be conducted over a 12 month period. Lewis would not release the location and duration of the checkpoint.

Officers will be contacting drivers to confirm their sobriety and see if they have a valid driver’s license or warrants. Lewis said unlicensed drivers are over-represented in fatal crashes.

Statewide, traffic deaths declined by 23 percent, from 3,995 in 2007 to 3,081 in 2009. Total traffic fatalities are at their lowest levels in six decades. DUI deaths declined by 16 percent, from 1,132 in 2007 to 950 in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

The SMPD reminds drivers that if they plan on drinking, make sure to have a designated driver or call a taxi instead of getting behind the wheel.

Funding for the checkpoint is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

kevinh@www.smdp.com

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