Los Angeles police and prosecutors are making a new push to aggressively target those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It includes the use of a new portable mouth swab device that can be used at sobriety checkpoints. Ted Chen reports from downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013.
Authorities plan to crack down on impaired drivers – either drunk or under the influence of drugs – using new DUI technology this New Year’s holiday.
A state grant will allow Los Angeles police officers to expand its use of swab testing at DUI checkpoints and jails to check for narcotics use, city officials announced at a press conference on Friday.
The grant comes at an opportune time as authorities said they are seeing more incidents of motorists driving under the influence of marijuana and other drugs.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said the prevalence of medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Los Angeles have heightened the number of impaired drivers in the city.
“There’s a growing recognition that driving under the influence of drugs is something we need to be clamping down on more effectively,” Feuer said.
Officials said drunken driving increases more than 80 percent during the holidays and they hope the new technology will discourage impaired drivers from taking the road.
Authorities also said that medical marijuana cardholders are not excused from receiving a DUI.
Los Angeles police, California Highway Patrol and a representative for Mothers Against Drunk Driving joined Feuer at the press conference.
A representative with Mothers Against Drunk Driving said DUI deaths have gone up 5 percent in the past year.
The new technology was announced after it was reported that more than 1,500 people have been arrested on suspicion of DUI so far this winter holiday season in Los Angeles County.