Last updated: May 28. 2014 9:05AM - 344 Views

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Do you know why drunk driving is the most committed crime in this country? Or why convicted drunken drivers continue to drink and drive? One in three people arrested have a prior conviction.

MADD’s publication Driven states there is one answer to these questions. Drunk drivers realize that their chances of being detected or arrested are remote. These realities have plagued law enforcement officials and highway safety advocates for years and impede efforts to reduce alcohol-related fatalities/injuries. The typical offender drives drunk between 200 — 2,000 times before being arrested the first time.

A promising solution this problem is increasing the use of sobriety checkpoints on the roads. Checkpoints work because they increase the risk of apprehension for impaired drivers whether by alcohol or other substances.

Checkpoints enable communities to increase enforcement of traffic laws without burdening the enforcement system — a huge consideration because law enforcement agencies are often stretched to the limit.

Sobriety checkpoints involve police officers stopping motor vehicles on a nondiscriminatory lawful basis, determining whether drivers are under the influence of alcohol/other drugs.

They serve as a deterrent because they detect and lead to the arrest of impaired drivers. Checkpoints increase the perceived risk of arrest if they are well published.

In addition to drunken driving arrests, checkpoints result in other arrests such as for stolen vehicles, drug violations, and outstanding felony and fugitive warrants.

They are cost efficient and don’t result in long traffic delays. The wait is comparable to waiting at a traffic signal. Those who argue that checkpoints infringe on their individual freedoms, don’t hesitate going through a metal detector before boarding an airplane.

More people were killed last year in alcohol-related crashes on US highways in a single week than died during the entire year in all airline crashes combined. Checkpoints reduce impaired driving, save lives and get dangerous people off the roads and behind jail bars.

Seventy-nine percent of citizens support the use of sobriety checkpoints.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving encourages our local officials to use checkpoints year-round and especially the Sobriety Checkpoint Emphasis period during the heavily traveled Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays.

Margaret Brackett

Coordinator MADD Newberry County

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