10th Anniversary of Checkpoint Strikeforce Campaign Kicks Off With DUI Checkpoints 4th of July Holiday Weekend
July 4th celebrations often include cook-outs, picnics, boating, time spent with family and friends and, of course, fireworks. But for too many families, these special moments can lead to tragedy. Last year a total of 39 (or 38%) of the 103 traffic deaths in Delaware last year were alcohol related. Of those killed, nearly 41% were drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This Fourth of July weekend, the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) along with multiple police agencies statewide, is kicking off the 10th anniversary of the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign. Checkpoint Strikeforce is a regional sobriety checkpoint campaign aimed at arresting DUI offenders by using high visibility enforcement to deter those who would otherwise choose to drink and drive. The campaign is a six month long effort coordinated locally by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety and involves setting up weekly DUI checkpoints & patrols statewide. Officers participating in the 2010 campaign made 528 DUI arrests.
“Alcohol impairs many of the skills that safe driving requires, including judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, visual acuity, and reaction time,” said Jana Simpler, Director of the Office of Highway Safety. “That is why OHS and Delaware law enforcement are launching the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign for the 10th year along with stepping up enforcement on Delaware roadways to crackdown on drunk drivers. Make this year safer by designating a sober driver before the party starts.”
There are seventy-one (71) sobriety checkpoints and 36 saturation patrols scheduled to take place during the six month long Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign. There will also be stepped up enforcement during peak holiday times including Labor Day, Halloween, and the month of December with additional DUI saturation patrols statewide. The Fourth of July holiday weekend will have 3 sobriety checkpoints along with stepped up enforcement of an additional 149 DUI saturation patrols conducted by 25 police agencies statewide.
Checkpoints are scheduled for:
Friday July 1st – Wilmington – (NcCo DUI Task Force) – checkpoint
Magnolia -(DSP Troop 3)- checkpoint
Saturday July 2nd – Dover -(Multi-jurisdictional effort)- checkpoint
Fortunately Delaware has seen a decrease in the number of alcohol-related fatalities this year compared to this time last year. Ten of this year’s 49 traffic deaths (20%) have been alcohol-related. At this time last year there were 46 fatalities and 33% involved alcohol.
The New Castle County DUI Task Force will again be conducting sobriety checkpoints throughout the county during the campaign. The DUI Task Force is comprised of officers from the Delaware City PD, Division of Alcohol Tobacco Enforcement (DATE), Division of Capitol Police, DNREC State Park PD, Elsmere PD, Middletown PD, New Castle City PD, New Castle County PD, Newark PD, Newport PD, University of Delaware PD, and Wilmington PD.
New this year, OHS has partnered with Dover PD & Millsboro PD to coordinate multi-jurisdictional checkpoints within their city limit throughout the next six months. Agencies that will be assisting Dover PD with their checkpoints include Capitol PD, Harrington PD, Felton PD, Camden PD, Smyrna PD, Milford PD, and Wyoming PD. Agencies assisting Millsboro PD at checkpoints include Blades PD, Bridgeville PD, Dewey Beach PD, Milton PD, and Ocean View PD. Rehoboth Beach PD, Georgetown PD, and Clayton PD will also be conducting checkpoints within their town limits during the campaign.
Attorney General Beau Biden conducted two swearing in ceremonies for the New Castle Task Force and multi-jurisdictional efforts this week. The swearing-in ceremonies conducted by the Attorney General provide the legal justification necessary to allow police officers to make DUI arrests in towns other than their own.
The campaign’s enforcement activities will be supplemented by an all new intense public awareness and education campaign that show how real DUI consequences are in Delaware in the form of T.V., radio spots, billboards, print, internet ads, and a new website DUIRealTime.com. OHS’s corporate partners will also receive flyers, posters, and table tents to display and help spread the message.
Those convicted of a first time DUI offense in Delaware can expect to lose their driver’s license for up to three months, attend an 8-week DUI treatment class and pay nearly 4-thousand dollars in court, treatment, DMV, and lawyer’s fees.
For more information on Checkpoint Strikeforce visit www.ohs.delaware.gov and follow regular campaign updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DEHighwaySafe and Facebook www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE.