Sobriety Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints or DUI checkpoints are certain locations where law enforcement officers test drivers for driving under the influence. The tests are conducted either regularly (by testing every driver) or in intervals. Sobriety checkpoints operate in 38 states while the remaining states do not conduct random sobriety checks via checkpoints. In certain states, the idea of a sobriety checkpoint goes against the law and the judiciary has restricted DUI checkpoints as an implementation of the constitution. The presence of sobriety checkpoints has reduced the number of fatal crashes caused by drunk driving by 18-24%.

Whats the Point?

Sobriety checkpoints are not pre-determined; they are initiated by the law enforcement and set up on anonymous roads. They are announced in the local media that a sobriety checkpoint is going to be established but the location of the checkpoint is never announced. Since most of the drunk driving incidents happen at night or on weekends, most of the DUI checkpoints are established at those times.

It All Started When…

Sobriety checkpoints were introduced in the US during early 1980s. Ever since the initialization of this idea, it has remained a point of argument among the government bodies and some state courts have considered them illegal and against the law. DUI checkpoints should be legal in all states according to the federal law but the checkpoints go against some state laws. Under the fourth amendment of United States Law, it is “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, paper and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and that this “law shall not be violated.” The fact that the drivers agree to any DUI tests to be taken while obtaining a license counters this law and gives enforcement officers the liberty to perform random tests on drivers. The United States Supreme Court has determined that the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints outweighs the minor violation of the driver’s right. This is the reason why in some states, the checkpoints actively operate while in some states, they are strictly prohibited.

It can happy anytime, anywhere

It has been reported that not all 38 states have operating and functioning sobriety checkpoints. Due to lack of personnel and funds, only 13 states have functional DUI checkpoints. For a checkpoint to be fully functional it has to be legalized in that very state, highly publicized, visible and showing effective results in form of the number of drivers tested each day/week. Such checkpoints may be advantageous in many other ways. For example, checking the validity of licenses, seat-belt use, headlight use, stolen vehicles and even kidnapping cases. In some states, the driver has the right to refuse taking a test and in certain areas it is mandatory to take DUI tests if asked by the officers. One should know if the sobriety checkpoints in their state are legal so that refusal does not lead to an arrest. Drunk driving accidents are one of the most serious matters in the US right now and it has become rather a compulsion to take every measure to save the lives of drivers and pedestrians.

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