OK, Sobriety Checkpoints Are Ineffective, but…

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on March 8th, 2007

Another news story about another ineffective DUI roadblock…


DUI Checkpoint Comes Up Empty

Oxford, Ohio. March 8 – Officers stopped 225 vehicles from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. along High Street in the Miami University area looking for drunk or drug-impaired drivers — and found none.

Lt. Wayne Price of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Hamilton Post says that’s great.

“The goal of the checkpoint is to act as a deterrent,” he said.


Funny, I thought the purpose of DUI roadblocks was to identify and apprehend drunk drivers.


Officers wrote 25 citations for offenses such as failure to wear seat belts or driving without a valid driver’s license.

To try to catch those who drink and drive but avoid the checkpoint area, officers conducted a “saturation patrol,” Price said.Those patrols stopped 60 vehicles during the three-hour span for minor traffic infractions and issued citations or warnings for infractions such as failing to use turn signals.


In permitting this unconstitutional practice, the U.S. Supreme Court in Michigan v. Sitz accepted the argument that the effectiveness of roadblocks in detecting and apprehending drunk drivers outweighed the admitted violation of the Fifth Amendment (see my earlier post “DUI Sobriety Checkpoints: Unconstitutional?”). Now that it has become apparent that they are ineffective for anything but raising revenue for local municipalities, police have changed the justification: “deterrence” (a safe claim since it can never be disproven).

If the police can set up unconstitutional roadblocks because they deter DUIs, why can’t they conduct random searches of citizens on the streets or in their homes to deter, say, possession of drugs?

 

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