While most of us will be enjoying the next few weeks as part of the holiday season, police all across Pennsylvania are gearing up for the DUI Checkpoint season. As a part of their DUI enforcement efforts, PENNDOT, Pennsylvania State Police and local police from all across the Commonwealth will be setting up more and more DUI checkpoints along Pennsylvania’s busy roadways.
But as taxpayers, aren’t we entitled to ask, “Are DUI Checkpoints worth the money?”
According to a recent article, ” Statistics don’t justify sobriety checkpoints“:
Consider that over 1 million vehicles went through 1,469 California sobriety checkpoints in 2008. Police arrested just one-third of 1 percent of those motorists for drunken driving. A similar analysis found that in 2007, less than 1 percent of the more than 181,000 drivers stopped at Pennsylvania checkpoints were arrested.
This is pretty consistent with the police reports in the local papers. The DUI arrests normally represent only 1% or less of the vehicles stopped. That’s 99 drivers being stopped, searched and being treated like a criminal for one POSSIBLE drunk person.
Not only are DUI checkpoints a bad idea statistically, but the economic costs are much higher than the alternatives. Once again the author of this article asks:
These exercises in futility are extremely expensive. Checkpoints can cost more than $10,000 each time they’re set up compared to $300 for each roving patrol. Considering how tight state and local budgets are in this dismal economy, is it really a wise investment?
The sad fact is, politicians don’t make laws based on statistics or the economic impact. They make DUI laws based on what lobbyists tell them to do. MADD and other powerful DUI lobbies are hard at work pushing their agendas and politicians fall in tow and dare not question the simulated reality.
This is why we need to wake up to these facts and continue to ask for a better way.