Sobriety checkpoints can be used in 38 states – Wisconsin not among them – as a weapon against drunken driving, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
They draw support from such agencies and organizations as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Researchers say they significantly reduce drinking-related crashes, and surveys show widespread public acceptance of them.
Now, Gov. Jim Doyle has come out in favor of making sobriety checkpoints legal in Wisconsin, but the measure is getting little legislative report. Sobriety checkpoints aren’t extensively used in the U.S., says traffic-safety researcher James Fell of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. “There’s a reluctance by police to use them for two reasons,” Fell said. “One, there’s a perception that they take a lot of resources  The other thing is police for the most part think they’re not effective because they don’t arrest that many drivers.” The Journal Sentinel describes an Illinois sobriety checkpoint “heavy on manpower and light on arrests.”