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Funding troubles may mean fewer DUI checkpoints in Fresno

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The California Office of Traffic Safety wants the funding to primarily go to DUI education, meaning fewer DUI checkpoints will happen. (KFSN)

DUI checkpoints in the city of Fresno may be happening less frequently because of funding.

The checkpoints typically take place randomly across the city at least once a month, but the funding behind those checkpoints is dwindling and the city may no longer be able to afford them.

Laurie Pinheiro's son is the reason she devotes countless hours to Mother's Against Drunk Driving.

"My son-in-law was a highway patrol trooper in Montana, and he was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver," she said.

Pinheiro has worked with MADD for the last eight years, using her story to bring awareness to the dangers of driving under the influence.

"I've been to so many checkpoints and the people that they drag out of cars and they walk them over to the curb on the side where they give them the field sobriety test," she said. "It's like they are staggering all over the place, and it's like they were just in a vehicle driving."

Just this past Friday, Fresno police conducted a DUI and driver's license traffic stop. Six drivers were arrested and are accused of driving while drunk or high.

The goal is to target people between the ages of 15 to 24 where impaired driving is the leading cause of death.

"It's just awareness. People need to be reminded that it's not okay to drink and drive," Pinheiro said.

And it's also an operation that the Central Valley woman says used to happen more often.

"When I first started going to checkpoints, they were Friday and Saturday nights most weekends," she explained. "Some months are more prone, depends on St. Patrick's, Labor Day weekends."

But now that the California Office of Traffic Safety wants the funding to primarily go to DUI education, meaning fewer DUI checkpoints will happen.

Pinheiro believes this will jeopardize the lives of others.

"Every DUI is preventing a possible crash," she said. "But it is what it is, the grant money only goes so far."

Her hope is that it will go back to the way it used to be when police officers had the resources to stop drunk drivers from taking their life or someone else's.

There are no other checkpoints scheduled for the rest of the month and it is unclear when the next one will be.

Fresno police say even though there will be fewer DUI checkpoints, the police department will continue DUI and distracted driving saturations with its officers.
Related Topics:
newsDUIfresno police departmentMADDfresnoFresno
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