DUI Sobriety Checkpoints Don't Work

DUI sobriety checkpoints do not work in stopping drunk drivers. This is the message from the American Beverage Institute in a press release today urging law enforcement agencies to forego the practice of DUI sobriety checkpoints over Thanksgiving weekend and, instead, focusing their time, effort and money toward the more effective roving DUI patrols.

The American Beverage Institute ("ABI") says that DUI sobriety checkpoints have proven to be ineffective in targeting DUI drivers. ABI Managing Director Sarah Longwell says “sobriety checkpoints are expensive, ineffective at catching drunk drivers, and target moderate drinkers instead of the root cause of today’s drunk driving problem—hard core alcohol abusers.”

In support of their position that DUI sobriety checkpoints miss the mark in curbing DUIs, the ABI points to statistics that show that the average drunk driver in a fatal DUI accident was driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over twice the legal limit. DUI sobriety checkpoints do not target these individuals, but rather, target and inconvenience all adult drivers.

For example, in 2008 in California, over 1 million drivers went through 1,469 DUI sobriety checkpoints. Police arrested just one-third of one percent of those drivers for DUI. Other states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia reported similar results.

Instead of the DUI sobriety checkpoints, the ABI favors roving DUI police patrols which is where police patrol the streets and highways looking for erratic drivers.

Citing recent Supreme Court decisions in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, the ABI says that roving DUI patrols catch up to 10 times more drunk drivers than DUI sobriety checkpoints. Furthermore, roving DUI patrols are also much cheaper costing an average of $300 as opposed to the $10,000 in can cost to run a DUI sobriety checkpoint. Finally, a roving DUI patrol is more effective in catching other traffic violators such as speeders, distracted drivers and aggressive drivers.

ABI Managing Director Longwell went on to add that “because they are highly visible by design and publicized in advance, roadblocks are all too easily avoided by the chronic alcohol abusers who comprise the core of today's drunk driving problem. That leaves adults who enjoyed a beer or a glass of wine with Thanksgiving dinner to be harassed at checkpoints.”

In the end, the ABI press release is urging law enforcement to ditch the DUI sobriety checkpoint for the Thanksgiving weekend and, instead, come the streets and highways for DUI drivers by way of the more effective roving DUI patrol.

Written by Gabriel Dorman
Los Angeles, California
gabedorman@gmail.com
www.criminaldefenseduilawyer.com/blog/
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