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The California Highway Patrol

Enforcement Programs

    Impaired Driving

    Over the past several years, the CHP has developed and implemented a variety of successful and innovative enforcement programs, many of which have been adopted by other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation, and in some cases throughout the world. These DUI countermeasures include:

    Active Support of California's Strict DUI Laws

    The CHP aggressively enforces the state's 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law, Administrative Per Se laws (immediate driver license suspension), 0.04 percent BAC law for commercial vehicle drivers, 0.01 percent BAC out-of-service requirement for commercial vehicle drivers (24-hour tie-up), and the 0.01 percent BAC limit for drivers under 21 years of age ('zero-tolerance').

    Checkpoint Operations - The CHP began conducting sobriety checkpoint operations in 1984 to ensure the safe passage of each and every motorist traveling on California's roadways by targeting areas where there is a high frequency of impaired driving. Sobriety checkpoint operations increase the public's awareness of the hazards of drinking and driving and, in many cases, serve as a deterrent to those drivers who may otherwise drive impaired. The CHP conducts highly visible and well publicized checkpoints on a regular basis to increase the perceived risk of arrest for DUI. Additionally, in an ongoing effort to ensure the highest level of traffic safety, the CHP recently began to include the checking of driver licenses at checkpoints to further deter unlicensed drivers.

    DUI Proactive Overtime Enforcement Programs - The use of grant-funded overtime programs enables the CHP to significantly increase the number of officers on patrol statewide and to deploy them at times and locations in which a high incidence of DUI-related traffic accidents have occurred. The additional resources have enabled the CHP to significantly reduce the number of DUI-related traffic accidents in the targeted areas.

    DUI Task Force Operations - The CHP conducts DUI task force operations, or saturation patrols, in areas experiencing a high incidence of DUI-related traffic collisions. Operating from a centralized location, these operations expedite the processing of arrested individuals and allow for a concentrated effort targeting impaired drivers.

    Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program

    Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program: This program provides officers with specialized training in the area of detecting drug influence through a twelve step evaluation process. The utilization of these specialized skills improves an officer's ability to detect and remove the drug-impaired driver from the state's highways. Annually, the CHP conducts thousands of drug recognition evaluations with an approximate accuracy rate (toxicological confirmation) of 90%. In addition to actively participating in the DRE Program, the CHP has been designated as the California State DRE Coordinator, overseeing the training and certification of over 2,500 CHP DRE's and 3,000 DRE's from allied agencies.

    DUI Cost Recovery Program

    As specified in the California Government Code (Section 53150), any person who is under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and/or any drug, whose negligent operation of a motor vehicle causes any incident resulting in an emergency response, is responsible for the costs associated with a public agency's emergency response to the incident. As such, to provide an additional deterrent to impaired driving, the CHP began billing for DUI cost recovery on a statewide basis on January 1, 1989. The money collected through the DUI cost recovery program goes to the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA). Ultimately, this program holds impaired drivers accountable for their actions by holding them criminally and financially responsible.

    Misdemeanor DUI Cite and Release Program

    The objective of this program is to increase available patrol hours for detection and apprehension of DUI violators, as well as other emergency services to the public. Under this program a suspected DUI driver is arrested, required to provide a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine, and if they meet established criteria (e.g., proper identification, no prior DUI convictions, not under the influence of drugs, not violent, not a danger to themselves or others), they are released to a responsible sober adult. CHP Areas which operate this program within their jurisdictions have received the endorsement of the local Sheriff's, CHP, prosecutors, and courts.

    Screening & Testing

    Non-consensual Chemical Testing (NCT) Program - Implied consent laws were intended to avoid confrontations with intoxicated persons by providing for the suspension of their driving privilege for refusing to submit to a chemical test. The enactment of implied consent laws did not, however, eliminate the option of forcibly taking blood samples from persons arrested for DUI who refuse to consent to a chemical test to determine their BAC. As such, the CHP developed NCT programs to allow for the forcible removal of blood samples from intoxicated individuals who otherwise refuse to submit to chemical testing.

    Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Device Program - Through federal grant funding, the CHP has equipped officers with over 2,500 PAS devices and has given over 2,400 PAS devices to other law enforcement agencies throughout California. PAS devices are hand-held breath testing instruments which provide an on-the-spot accurate measurement of the BAC of a suspected drunk driver. These devices are also used to refute or negate a driver's contention that their impairment is based upon alcohol consumption when they are suspected of being under the influence of an illicit drug.