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Sac DA Receives $1.37 million Grant to Combat Drugged Driving

Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully announced today the receipt of two grants totaling $1.37 million in funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The funding, which runs through September 30, 2012, includes:

$435,000 to purchase a Liquid Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer instrument for the District Attorney’s Crime Lab. This specialized equipment will test for sedative-hypnotic drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Ambien, and marijuana in drug impaired driving cases. This funding also includes a portable breath testing instrument and employee overtime costs for crime lab staff to provide on-site assistance at DUI checkpoints.

$935,000 to expand the current DUI Vertical Prosecution & Community Awareness Program, which is also funded by OTS through NHTSA. This specialized team prosecutes DUIs that result in death or serious injury. With the additional funding, the unit will expand to include drug impaired driving cases.

The program includes a DUI community awareness program Driving It Home to educate juvenile and adult drivers and potential passengers about the dangers of DUI drivers and a Real DUI Court in School program where an actual DUI sentencing is conducted in front of students at Sacramento high schools.
The goals of the DUI Vertical Prosecution & Community Awareness Program are to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by DUI and drug impaired driving, and to decrease the overall rate of DUI and drug impaired driving in Sacramento County.

“Drunk driving has been an ongoing problem in Sacramento, and drugged driving is growing throughout the state,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “The programs that these grants fund will give the District Attorney more of the resources needed to help combat both.”

In recent studies, 23 percent of all fatally injured drivers tested positive for drug involvement. In another study where drivers voluntarily allowed for testing, more tested positive for marijuana (8.4 percent) than for alcohol (7.6 percent).

DA Scully states, “OTS continues to be our most devoted ally in combating DUI and drug impaired driving in Sacramento County. These grants will enable us to prosecute drug related driving offenses with the same level of expertise and success as alcohol related DUI cases and increase the safety of our roads and highways.”

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