Law enforcement is not an easy job, yet there are men and women who commit to keeping us all safe each day, despite the risks. When it comes to sobriety checkpoints, the dangers to our police officers is pretty clear – they’re standing on the road, looking for people in cars who are too intoxicated to drive. At best, those drivers are caught, convicted and face consequences like an ignition interlock requirement. Unfortunately, there are situations where tragedy does strike, like the loss of an officer in New Jersey in 2010. Because a sobriety checkpoint is a potential disaster waiting to happen, please take the time to be safe when you are rolling through.
Take it easy. Slow down, don’t try to go around the checkpoint or turn around. If you are sober, your time during your screening will be minimal and you’ll be on your way. If you are possibly intoxicated, well, you don’t need to be driving, anyway.
Have your ID and insurance information ready. This is important because of the time factor. When people get antsy or frustrated during a wait, they’re more likely to do something rash. At a sobriety checkpoint, that rash behavior could very well result in the injury or death of a law enforcement officer or a civilian.
Cooperate with the officers. Even if you know you haven’t been drinking and are asked to pull over for further testing, you need to go ahead and do it. A sobriety checkpoint actually has a formula built into it that determines who is given additional screening (outside of probable cause). Again, you’re in the clear as long as you’re sober, and the extra tests really don’t take much time when you’re not under the influence of alcohol.
A sobriety checkpoint is an effective way to remove potentially dangerous, intoxicated drivers from the roads. It also finds those with other traffic violations and even outstanding warrants for arrest. Considering all of the good that the checkpoints do, the law enforcement officers who are running the show deserve respect and above all, your consideration for their safety.