Drunk-Driving Checkpoints Are Planned

Times Staff Writer

Police Chief Bill Kolender announced Monday that police will conduct several sobriety checkpoints at "problem areas" during the holiday season in an effort to reduce the number of drinking drivers.

The first checks will take place Wednesday, Lt. Jerry Moody of the traffic division said.

Vehicles will move through the check lanes at specific intervals to assure objectivity and timeliness, Moody said. The discussion between driver and officer should rarely exceed 30 seconds unless a field coordination test is required of the driver.

The checkpoints will be clearly marked. People driving through the checkpoints will be given an informational pamphlet describing drinking-driver laws and risks, Moody said.

Kolender stressed that the checkpoints will be a supplement to drunk-driving enforcement, not a substitute. Drunk-driving enforcement will continue citywide while the checkpoints are in operation.

The areas under consideration as possible checkpoints include:

- Old Town-Bay Park.

- Point Loma-Rosecrans.

- Midway-Camino del Rio West.

- Mission Valley.

- Fiesta Island.

- State College-East San Diego.

- Miramar.

- Southeast San Diego.

- Downtown.

- South Bay.

Checkpoint locations will be available from the duty officer at 8 p.m. Wednesday, one hour before the checks begin.

Surveys conducted by the San Diego Police Department and the California Highway Patrol show strong public support for the checkpoints, Moody said.

More than 85% of the drivers surveyed said they approved of the checkpoints and felt that they served as a deterrent. Statistics indicate that collisions related to drinking drivers are reduced by 19% because of the checkpoints, Moody said.

The checkpoints will be conducted in accordance with the guidelines set forth in a recent California Supreme Court decision that affirmed their constitutionality, Moody said.

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