Monday, June 02, 2008

DUI Checkpoints

The San Diego Union-Tribune had a pair of “point/counterpoint” editorials in the Sunday paper, the subject of which was DUI checkpoints conducted by various local police agencies. The “pro” editorial was written by a local police chief, making the points that the checkpoints deliver a message and that they find violations other than drunk driving. The “con” editorial was written by the VP of a food and beverage association, whose point seemed to be that checkpoints prevented women from having two glasses of wine with dinner.

The latter person failed to provide any scientific evidence that two glasses of wine during the course of an average dinner would put even a small person’s blood alcohol content over the legal level of 0.08%, and I’m rather inclined to doubt that it actually would. My wife, however, has me drive home if she has even one glass of wine with dinner, so maybe the guy has a point. Oh, wait, in that case I’m driving.

Why do I think this guy’s real issue has more to do with the impact on his association’s members sales of booze?

My take on these checkpoints is that every person that goes through them is delivered a message by a uniformed police officer, a message in more than mere words, that driving under the influence is a very bad idea. That, to me, makes checkpoints a useful tool in the campaign against drunk driving. Convincing people not to drive drunk is more important than issuing tickets.

Which might be the lesson of leaving thinking, “What if I had been drunk?”

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:37 AM

    being a teetotaler (ok, ok I have a glass of wine very occasionally), I don't have a problem with it, and I don't think even that would be an issue. I think Kathy is being overy sensitive, but that's between her and Bill.

    I think DUI checkpoints are a fine idea and yes they do check for and fine other problems, which is okay with me in terms of efficiency. As far as the legality, ther have been SC rulings that say they are.

    Advance warning have the dual role of providing additional awareness and warning to stay away from that area if you are impaired or have other violations. Of course, if you are under the influence, you may well not remember anyway.