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Citrus Heights police announce Easter weekend DUI Checkpoint

An Easter weekend DUI and driver’s license checkpoint will be conducted at “an undisclosed location” in Citrus Heights, police said in a news release this week.

In a statement authored by Sgt. Brian Fritsch on Wednesday, police said the checkpoint will be held between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., beginning Friday night, March 25. Police said officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and drug impairment, as well as checking drivers for proper licensing.

In an effort to address what police said is a growing number of crashes related to drugged driving, officers will also be on scene to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which can include many prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, according to the news release.

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CHPD is known to hold regularly publicized checkpoints within Citrus Heights city limits, focusing on areas with a history of collisions and DUI arrests. The department says it announces DUI operations in advance because “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.”

In Citrus Heights last year there were 73 DUI-related collisions and 340 DUI arrests, according to statistics previously provided to The Sentinel by Sgt. Jason Baldwin. The statistics also showed a 19 percent drop in DUI collisions, compared to 2014.

[Related: 2015 stats show 19% drop in Citrus Heights DUI crashes, but fatalities rise]

Out of six fatal roadway collisions in Citrus Heights last year, police determined alcohol was involved on the part of the driver in at least three of the collisions, and two involved alcohol on the part of pedestrians who were hit and killed.

In prior news releases about local checkpoints, police have emphasized the “preventable nature of drunk driving” accidents, advising those planning to enjoy a drink to designate a sober driver ahead of time, or utilize options like a taxi or Uber. Police also advise calling 9-1-1 to report drunk drivers, and previously recommended sober drivers take the keys of someone who’s been drinking and “help them get home safely.”

Funding for CHPD’s checkpoints comes from a California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) grant, through the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Police said last November CHPD had received a $236,190 OTS grant to help fund a year-long program of safety-related efforts, including DUI checkpoints and distracted driving enforcement.

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