Letter to the Editor

Memorial Day weekend

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Itís estimated that about 40 million people will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend to reach their vacation destinations or backyard barbecues ó the highest number of travelers in 12 years. But congested highways wonít be the only thing aggravating drivers. Police across the country will once again be relying on sobriety checkpoints to catch drunk drivers.

While we all want drunks off the road, checkpoints are ineffective and a poor use of traffic safety resources. For example, a sobriety checkpoint in California earlier this month stopped over 1,500 drivers, but only made one DUI arrest. And another in Ohio caught zero. These low success rates are unfortunately a common occurrence across the country.

The lack of results arenít surprising. The locations and times of these DUI checkpoints are publicly available across a wide range of media platforms like the local television station, newspapers, social media or even smartphone apps. And since flashing lights and traffic jams that are associated with checkpoints can be seen from far away, itís not difficult for a drunk driver to avoid these locations and take an alternate route.

Instead of using valuable traffic safety resources on ineffective enforcement methods, police should use roving or saturation patrols that have been proven to actively target dangerous drunk drivers without creating a legion of frustrated travelers. That way, Memorial Day drivers can arrive to their destinations safely and headache-free.

ó Sarah Longwell, American Beverage Institute managing director