Captain Paul Becker says the checkpoints are about more than making immediate arrests, reports The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. Checkpoints provide a deterrent factor. They educate the public. They let drunk drivers know that their conduct won't be tolerated.
Wouldn't a bumper sticker and public service announcements be cheaper?
The Signal reports that over three recent checkpoints, over 3,600 people were stopped. Three were arrested. That is not a typo. That is a success rate of less than 0.08%, which is coincidentally the legal limit for blood alcohol content. If their success rate were a drunk person, their case might be dropped.
Captain Becker claims that the checkpoints are important for educating the public, and set a tone of intolerance towards drunk driving. No one is arguing that drunk driving should be tolerated.
Drunk driving is a dangerous, and very prevalent crime in Santa Clarita. DUIs make up between 40 and 50% of arrests in the area.
The question, however, is not whether drunk driving is a problem. It is whether the checkpoints are the most efficient method of solving the problem. It would be hard to imagine a solution that would statistically be less effective. Surely, regular patrols, in areas crawling with night-life, could net at least three arrests over the same couple of months.
In a time where budgets are aching for austerity measures, people are beginning to question the necessity of expensive, time-consuming checkpoints that don't actually lead to many arrests. Surely, some alternate form of education exists that can curb DUIs while not running up the tab on the state's budget?
- Find a Los Angeles DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Weekend DUI Checkpoints: Why is it Important to Publicize? (FindLaw's Los Angeles DUI Blog)
- DUI Checkpoints (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)