Sobriety Checkpoints: Good or Bad?

For the sake of those who do not know, sobriety checkpoints are roadblocks used to stop vehicles so that law enforcement officials can check drivers for possible alcohol or drug impairment. They are located in public roadways and are oftentimes conducted during weekends, usually between late in the evening up to the wee hours of the following morning. It is said that drunk driving is rampant during these time.

Usually, law enforcement officials stop vehicles (or every other vehicle, or every third or fourth vehicle, depending on the sequence they are following) and check the drivers for possible alcohol or drug impairment. If a driver is suspected to be intoxicated, he is asked to get out of his vehicle for a quick alcohol breath test which will check his blood alcohol content (BAC) or for a roadside sobriety test which will test his mental and balance skills at present.

Although sobriety checkpoints are legal in most of the states, some of the states do not conduct them. In fact, 12 states do not carry out sobriety checkpoints and 5 of these states found the act illegal in their respective state constitution. Up to this moment, debates whether these sobriety checkpoints are good or they are just one form of violating human rights are still going on.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a non-profit organization, sobriety checkpoints do not mean to arrest or to harass people. They are simply conducted to avoid drunk driving related vehicle collisions and to discourage people from committing drunk driving. Besides, before putting up sobriety checkpoints, the public is informed in advance. Signs are also posted to let the drivers know that a sobriety checkpoint awaits ahead. A driver will not go through either a breath test or a roadside sobriety test unless the law enforcement officials found something in him which is worth suspecting for. If a driver is only obedient enough to follow simple instructions and to answer a couple of questions then he’s out of the checkpoint in a couple of minutes. They are not that hassle to deal with at all.

With the very high drunk driving related accidents, it is only right to conduct sobriety checkpoints every now and then. Statistics found out that almost 24,000 people are killed in a drunk driving related accidents every year. In fact, one American is said to die in every 22 minutes because of a drunk driving related accident. And although government is spending thousands of dollars in sobriety checkpoints, it is nothing compared to what it is spending on drunk driving related crashes every year.

So the next time you found yourself too drunk to drink, it is better to call a cab, take a public transportation, call a friend to take you home or just stay in a hotel. That way, you are not just saving yourself from getting in trouble with sobriety checkpoints, you are also saving yourself from the risk of getting involved in a vehicular accident. If drunk driving related accidents are avoidable, why put yourself at risk?

Traffic Law