Readers are aware that one of my biggest peeves about the so-called “War on Drunk Driving” is DUI roadblocks (aka “sobriety checkpoints”) — both because of their ineffectiveness and their inherent unconstitutionality. See, for example, Do DUI Roadblocks Work?, Do DUI Roadblocks Work? (Part II) and Are DUI Roadblocks Constitutional?
Since it has become increasingly difficult for law enforcement agencies to ignore the overwhelming evidence that DUI roadblocks are ineffective at apprehending drunk drivers, many have cleverly reversed their justifications for them and adopted a Kafkaesque defense: roadblocks are effective because they are ineffective. The reasoning here is, “We aren’t arresting any drunk drivers at the roadblocks because they are so effective at keeping them off the road”. See my post DUI Logic: Roadblocks Effective – Because They’re Ineffective. (Reminds me of the old joke: ”Why are you wearing a pink hat?”…”To keep the elephants away”…”But we don’t have elephants here”…”See?”)
In a variation on this twisted theme, last week the Beverly Hills police department offered his own feeble defense of roadblocks to the city council:
DUI Checkpoints Discussed at Council Meeting
Beverly Hills, CA. Sept. 23 — Beverly Hills Police Department Lt. Mark Rosen gave a presentation on sobriety checkpoints at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“The main objective of the checkpoint is not to arrest drunk drivers,” Rosen said. “The real objective … is to bring DUI driving to the forefront of people’s thought process.”
Hmmmm…..So what is the real reason why local police agencies are so insistent on continuing to use admittedly ineffective roadblocks?
The usual answer: money. Simply put, DUI “sobriety checkpoints” are a cash cow — a subterfuge for stopping vehicles to find minor violations such as equipment violations, expired car registrations and drivers licenses not in possession. See my posts, DUI Roadblock: 1131 Stops, 114 Tickets, 0 DUI Arrests, Another “Successful” DUI Roadblock: 3000 Drivers Stopped, 0 DUIs, DUI Roadblocks for Fun and Profit and The True Purpose of DUI Roadblocks.