Sobriety Checkpoint FAQs
What is a checkpoint?
- Sobriety checkpoints are a technique where law enforcement officials evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment at specific points on the roadway.
- Conversely, a saturation patrol is a concentrated enforcement effort that targets impaired drivers by observing moving violations such as reckless driving, speeding and aggressive driving among others things.
- A saturation patrol is generally spread over a larger geographic area than a sobriety checkpoint.
How are checkpoints conducted?
- Vehicles are stopped in a specific sequence such as every other vehicle or every fourth, fifth or sixth vehicle.
- Checkpoints are typically publicized in advance and signs are posted at the approaches to the checkpoints warning drivers that a checkpoint is ahead.
- Police must have a reason to believe the driver stopped at a checkpoint has been drinking before a breath test can be conducted.
- If the checkpoints are conducted properly, cars are pulled over at random according to their order in the sequence which diminishes the possibility of racial profiling.
- Law-abiding people are sent on their way within minutes.
- Average stop time is about the length of a cycle at a stop light.
Why do checkpoints?
- The primary goal of a sobriety checkpoint is not to arrest people, but rather to deter people from committing DUI.
- Sobriety checkpoints help stop drunk drivers who would likely remain under the radar.
- The publicity from checkpoints reminds people who drink that drinking and driving don’t mix.
- Research shows that for every dollar invested in checkpoints, communities save between $6 and $23 in costs from alcohol-related crashes.
- The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes to society is over $100 billion.
- Research shows that checkpoints, if done correctly, can be effective with as few as three to five officers.