Statistics spark debate on whether DUI checkpoints work
STOCKTON, Sept. 18 — Recently released federal data has prompted a beverage industry group to declare checkpoints ineffective and to push for more resources to be spent on patrols to prevent people from drinking and driving.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in August released data on alcohol-related deaths in 2003 and 2004. Last year saw a decline in fatalities, and most of the drop occurred in states that don't use sobriety checkpoints. That led the American Beverage Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based restaurant industry group, to proclaim checkpoints as an ineffective method in preventing alcohol fatalities.
"There were 411 fewer deaths in 2004, 394 of which were in nonroadblock states," said John Doyle, executive director of ABI. "It's a startling finding when you look at it through that filter."
California is one of 39 states that use checkpoints to prevent and catch drunken drivers. It also had 14 more fatalities in 2004 than 2003. All 11 states that don't use checkpoints — among them Oregon and Washington — reported a decrease in alcohol-related deaths….
"Checkpoints are successful, because they get the word out," said Officer Bill Sivley, a spokesman for Stockton CHP, adding that officers often give out informational pamphlets to motorists. "We will never know how many people were deterred from drinking and driving because of them."
Let's see….DUI roadblocks don't work — they may even increase fatalities — but we should have more of them because they "get the word out"?