Last updated: August 27. 2014 9:03AM - 106 Views

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Do you know why drunk driving is the most frequently committed crime in this country? Or why convicted drunken drivers continue to drink and drive?

One in three people arrested for DUI has a prior conviction for drunk driving.

MADD’s publication DRIVEN states there is one simple answer. They realize that their chances of being detected, apprehended/arrested for breaking the law are remote. These realities have plagued law enforcement officials and highway safety advocates and impede efforts to reduce alcohol-related fatalities and injuries. The typical offender drives drunk between 200-2,000 times before he/she is arrested the first time.

A promising solution to the drunk driving problem is increasing sobriety checkpoints on the roads. Checkpoints work for several reasons increasing the risk of apprehension for impaired drivers whether they are impaired by alcohol and/or other substances:

• Sobriety checkpoints enable communities to increase enforcement of traffic laws without heavily burdening the enforcement system. Law enforcement agencies across the country are too often stretched to the limit.

• Involve police officers stopping motor vehicles on a nondiscriminatory lawful basis to determine whether drivers are under the influence of alcohol/other drugs. Police stop all vehicles passing through checkpoints.

• Serve as a specific deterrent because they detect/lead to the arrest of impaired drivers passing through the stop. Checkpoints increase the perceived risk of arrest if they are well published. Also, increase drunken driving arrests and other arrests — stolen vehicles, drug violations, fugitive warrants.

Checkpoints are cost efficient and do not result in long traffic delays. The wait is comparable to waiting at a traffic signal.

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

Margaret Brackett

Coordinator MADD Newberry County

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