Are DUI Checkpoints a Good Idea? Depends On Who You Ask


Are police DUI checkpoints worthwhile/ USA Today raises that question. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they reduce alcohol-related crashes, and the Supreme Court has ruled that they are constitutional. Still, a dozen states don’t allow them. “DUI checkpoints are proven to be effective at deterring drunk drivers,” says Barbara Harsha of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “The goal is not to write tickets or make arrests but rather to remind the public that they should drive sober or face serious consequences.”

Some experts say checkpoints are less cost-effective than rolling patrols, in which officers drive around and look for people driving drunk. “They freeze up a certain amount of resources standing out there on the side of the road. They tend to tie up traffic,” says Prof. Dennis Kenney of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “That said, they do catch some drunk drivers, especially if they set them up in places where they’re difficult to avoid.” Riverside County (Ca.) Sheriff Stanley Sniff, whose office made 491 DUI arrests at 83 checkpoints in 16 cities last year, says: “Random patrols are still the most effective. We make light-years more arrests on random patrols than at checkpoints.”

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