South San Francisco, CA March 23, 2018 Submitted by SSFPD
On 03-22-18, South San Francisco Police Officers were conducting surveillance operations on known alcohol or drug-impaired driving (DUI) repeat-offenders who have suspended driver’s licenses. The Police Department developed information that one of the offenders was still routinely driving his vehicle in violation of law. Officers located the offender, South San Francisco resident 80 year old retired Plato Barnes, while driving his vehicle on Westborough Boulevard in South San Francisco.
Barnes has two DUI convictions; even though his driver’s license was suspended, he was required to have an ignition interlock device installed upon his vehicle if his privilege to drive was reinstated. Barnes was arrested for driving with a suspended driver’s license and for driving a vehicle without a required ignition interlock device. Both are misdemeanor offenses. Barnes’ vehicle was towed and impounded on a 30 day hold. The vehicle is also susceptible to permanent forfeiture and sale.
The South San Francisco Police Department proactively works with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Office of Traffic Safety on the DUI Hot List program. This is a program that identifies repeat DUI offenders who have suspended drivers licenses. All offenders on the list are provided a notice about their convictions, told about the Hot List program, and are warned not to drive.
The South San Francisco Police Department regularly disseminates the DUI Hot List, along with photographs of known DUI Hot List offenders and their vehicles, to all traffic and patrol officers. Throughout the year, specially-trained officers conduct undercover surveillance operations on Hot List offenders and watch their home or workplace. Offenders caught driving are subject to immediate arrest for driving on a suspended license and are subject to additional OMV sanctions and criminal charges.
Studies and research conducted by the DMV show a staggering 75% of drivers who are convicted of DUI continue to drive despite having their drivers licenses suspended or revoked. Repeat DUI offenders in California are involved in 24% of fatal DUI crashes and 63% of injury DUI crashes. These statistics show why programs like the DUI Hot List are important in our efforts to reduce these numbers.