The California Office of Traffic Safety has awarded the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office $860,226 to combat drunk and stoned drivers.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, a portion of the money will be used to bolster the DUI Vertical Prosecution Team, which consists of three “specially trained” deputy district attorneys assigned to specifically handle DUI prosecutions throughout the county.
The DUI Vertical Prosecution Team was initiated last year with the goal of reducing “drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries by holding drug-impaired drivers accountable,” according the to the District Attorney’s office.
In announcing the grant, the Riverside District Attorney’s Office was quick to point out that the special unit obtained nearly 300 convictions in its first year.
The funding for the Riverside unit come at a time when Los Angeles County began using mouth swabs at DUI stops to test for drugs, including marijuana, in drivers’ systems.
Another portion of the money will go to the District Attorney’s Office investigator for investigating cases of DUI resulting in death or injury.
Lastly, some of the money will be used to fund DUI prevention and awareness programs such as “Every 15 Minutes” seminars. Every 15 Minutes seminars are taught on high school campuses throughout the country and are intended to teach high school students the dangers of driving drunk through simulated drunk driving collision scenes.
“Goals of this grant include reducing the number of persons killed and injured in DUI-related traffic collisions and increasing police officer and prosecutor expertise in DUI investigations and prosecutions,” according to a statement by the District Attorney’s Office.