DUI checkpoint sign
A DUI checkpoint in San Diego County. Courtesy sheriff’s department

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Regional Crime Laboratory announced Tuesday that it has received a half-million dollar grant to support a “comprehensive approach to prevent drunk and drugged driving.”

The state Office of Traffic Safety is providing the $505,723 grant, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The crime laboratory will use the money to:

  • expand blood alcohol testing capabilities to include other drugs, with a goal of meeting or exceeding toxicology screening standards of the National Safety Council’s Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division
  • train crime lab staff on new instruments and equipment to determine drug and other chemical concentrations in driving under the influence samples
  • provide quarterly data to partner agencies such as the California Office of Traffic Safety and California Highway Patrol to improve roadway safety

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, and one person is killed in a DUI crash every hour in the United States, according to the sheriff’s department.

According to the county, driving under the influence doesn’t just mean drinking alcohol, but also involves medication, marijuana and illegal drugs. County officials reminded residents celebrating this holiday week to plan for a safe ride home.

The crime laboratory provides forensic science services to over 30 law enforcement agencies in the county. Employees also process over 6,000 samples in traffic safety cases per year.

So far in San Diego County in 2021, 5,940 people have been booked into jail for impaired driving.

City News Service contributed to this article.