“We hope to educate the community that driving buzzed will not be tolerated. With the campus community growing every year, we hope to educate them before they make an irreversible decision,” said Sergeant Aaron Johnson from the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety.
The department is increasing DUI checkpoints in the hopes of keeping people who have had a few drinks off the road. Johnson feels increasing checkpoints will encourage people into not getting into their cars, especially in a community filled with students.
DUI checkpoints are regularly orchestrated throughout the country. Checkpoints have been proven to be an effective tool that has reduced drunk driving. Statistics reveal that checkpoints have reduced the frequency of intoxicated drivers on the road by 20 percent.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that DUI checkpoints have provided the most successful results compared to other DUI enforcement policies. The funding for these checkpoints is coming from the Santa Rosa Police Department through a grant from the California Office of Traffic.
Increasing checkpoints creates public awareness that driving under the influence will not be tolerated in Rohnert Park. The police department wants the Rohnert Park community to come together to help reduce the number of injuries and deaths that result from driving under the influence by reporting incidents if they witness them.
The checkpoints that were utilized during Labor Day weekend raised the question of whether checkpoints are worth having if only one or two people were arrested. In some eyes the checkpoints have been seen in a positive light. The checkpoints are steering residents away from driving under the influence.
The new casino being built might also cause more DUI checkpoints. Authorities feel it is better to be safe than sorry. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, “The checkpoint aims to target those who still don’t heed the message to designate a sober driver.” There are those people who fall into the statistics and do not receive that message. In California roughly 86 out of 10,000 people are arrested each year for DUIs.
Sonoma State student Hannah Ford feels the checkpoints are a positive law enforcement tool for the community, especially with the new casino being built.
“Increases in checkpoints are a good idea because our law enforcement departments are only trying to protect our community,” said Ford. “I think the casino will add more reason to have checkpoints because there will be many people who will be intoxicated and trying to figure out ways to get home.”
It is evident from Sergeant Johnson that DUIs are increasing to protect the community. A large part of the community is Sonoma State students. A website called Drinkingandriving.org gives young adults advice about drinking and driving and how serious the repercussions are.
“A DUI at any age will mess with your license, your insurance, and your school or job. But penalties for drunk driving everywhere are harsher on teens. More jail, higher fines, longer license suspension, the list goes on,” said the drinkingandriving.org website. The website also emphasizes that it is a privilege to have a license to drive and you are expected not to harm anyone on the road and do not take the responsibility of driving lightly.
“Deaths from drunk and drug-impaired driving are going down in California,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “But that still means that hundreds of our friends, family and co-workers are killed each year, along with tens of thousands who are seriously injured. We must all continue to work together to bring an end to these tragedies. If you see a Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1.”
Ultimately, the Department of Safety of Rohnert Park wants to keep everyone safe and keep them from falling into the statistics of death due to impaired driving.