California DUI Deaths drop to record low.
According to a federal report released this week, the number of DUI related fatalities in California has dropped to a record low. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claimed that federally funded anti-drunk driving campaigns contributed to the drop in DUI fatalities. Alcohol contributed to 791 deaths in the state in 2010 as opposed to 950 deaths in 2009.
In 2010, the federal government increased the budget for DUI checkpoints. 2,553 checkpoints were conducted last year, up from 1,740 in 2009. The drop in DUI fatalities has been attributed to the deterrent effect of the increase in the number of checkpoints.
However, some law enforcement agencies, including the Costa Mesa Police Department are moving away from checkpoints and toward saturation patrols. Checkpoints do not result in a large number of DUI arrests, but provide an educational and deterrent function. Saturation patrols result in more traffic stops of impaired drivers and more prosecutions for DUI. Saturation patrols are also cheaper than checkpoints as they require less manpower.