Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

Ineffectual checkpoints

September 9, 2004

It is hardly surprising that the Eudora police department's attempts to nab drunk drivers using sobriety checkpoints results in no arrests ("Local weekend sobriety checkpoint produces no arrest," Aug. 26, 2004).
Because they are highly visible by design and well publicized in advance, roadblocks are all too easily avoided by chronic alcohol abusers who comprise the core of today's drunk driving problem.
Conversely, roving patrols, which roam highways in search of the erratic driving of intoxicated drivers, are considerably more effective at getting drunks off the road. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that "the number of DWI arrests made by the roving patrol program was nearly three times the average number of DWIs made by the checkpoint programs."
The report also stated, "If making a large number of DWI arrests is an objective of a program, [the data] clearly suggests that roving patrols would be the preferred option."
By wasting scarce law enforcement resources on roadblocks, there are fewer left to deploy on roving patrols, which -- unlike roadblocks -- have proved effective at catching drunk drivers.
John Doyle
executive director of American Beverage Institute
Washington, D.C

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