To the editor:
Drunk drivers realize that their chances of being detected apprehended or arrested for breaking the law are extremely remote. These disturbing realities have plagued law enforcement officials and highway safety advocates for years and impede efforts to reduce alcohol-related fatalities and injuries. The typical offender drives drunk between 200 and 2,000 times before he or she is arrested the first time.
One of the most promising solutions to the nation’s serious drunk driving problems is increasing the use of sobriety checkpoints on the roads. Checkpoints work for several reasons. They increase the risk of apprehension for impaired drivers whether they are impaired by alcohol and/or other substances.
Equally important, sobriety checkpoints enable communities to increase enforcement of traffic laws without heavily burdening the enforcement system. This is a huge consideration because law enforcement agencies across the country are all too often stretched to the limit.
Sobriety checkpoints involve police officers stopping motor vehicles on a nondiscriminatory lawful basis to determine whether drivers are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Police stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoints.
Sobriety checkpoints serve as a specific deterrent because they detect and lead to the arrest of impaired drivers passing through the stop. Checkpoints increase the perceived risk of arrest if they are well published, which they should be.
In addition to drunken driving arrests, sobriety checkpoints result in other arrests for felonies, such as stolen vehicles, drug violations, and outstanding felony and fugitive warrants.
Checkpoints are cost efficient and do not result in long traffic delays. The wait is typically comparable to waiting at a traffic signal.
Sobriety checkpoints reduce impaired driving, save lives and get dangerous people — dangerous for many reasons — off the roads and even behind jail bars.
Coordinator, MADD Newberry County