The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

Over 3,600 Stopped At Santa Clarita Checkpoints; Only 3 Arrested

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.

One might wonder if publication of the checkpoint locations, as well as smart phone apps and Twitter feeds that track the checkpoints, have neutered them to the point of irrelevance.

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?

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