Pennsylvania DUI Checkpoints: Are They Really Worth It?

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?”

Police in Pennsylvania are gearing up for more DUI checkpoints over the holidays.
Police in Pennsylvania are gearing up for more DUI checkpoints over the holidays.

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.

Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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