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DUI checkpoints were first initiated for one reason, to prevent death and/or injury by an alcohol impaired driver. In California, these traffic stops are funded by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) in an effort to save lives and prevent alcohol related auto accidents. While 12 states view checkpoints as unconstitutional, 38 states, including California, set up checkpoints on a regular basis.
In 2011, there were 774 drunk driving deaths in California, down from 950 in 2009. A great effort has been made by the OTS and the National Highway Traffic Administration to reduce these numbers. One such effort is setting up DUI checkpoints.
While the efficiency of these traffic stops are still questionable to many, it is clear that they do provide several benefits:
One on one conversation/interaction between police and driver allows police to better identify drunk drivers
Can also reveal drivers that are driving with a suspended or restricted license
Can find drivers that are breaking parole violations
Can deter impaired drivers from driving altogether because of the risk involved in being stopped and arrested
Leading to arrests of illegal aliens and unlicensed drivers
DUI checkpoints are set up strategically, near bars and clubs and on heavy drinking holidays such as Labor day. The OTS conducted 2,530 checkpoints in 2010, which is up from 1,740 in 2009. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the number of alcohol related auto accidents are down 20% in states that implement sobriety checkpoints.
Some argue that police resources (and money) are better spent patrolling the streets in active search of the drunk drivers who may be potentially avoiding heavily policed areas. The effectiveness of checkpoints are often in question because:
They are more avoidable by drivers then random scouting and patrol
Social media and mobile applications share where checkpoints are located, making them easy to avoid
The cost associated with running them
Regardless of whether or not they are proven effective, Sacramento auto accident attorney Frank Penney believes that precautionary measures do save lives. Unfortunately, intoxicated drivers do claim lives or cause injury to others. If you have been affected by a drunk driving incident, you need auto accident attorney Frank Penney because he will fight for your rights.
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