Sobriety Checkpoints, Public Information and the Internet

ignition interlockThe Internet is a repository of information, and is used more and more for relaying important announcements within local areas and across the world. Because of the broad audience that can be informed through the Internet and especially through social media websites and services, many law enforcement agencies are using websites like Twitter and Facebook to publicly announce local information and alerts, including sobriety checkpoints. As is the case in many states, a sobriety checkpoint allows law enforcement to survey a portion of drivers for active arrest warrants, proper identification and automobile insurance and/or indications of drunk driving. Still, many wonder how effective sobriety checkpoints are if there is an announcement made publicly, especially online.

In areas where sobriety checkpoints are legal, public knowledge is essential to maintaining proper legal rights. Since the announcement of a sobriety checkpoint informs the public of the general location where law enforcement is checking vehicles and drivers, many feel these announcements only encourage people who will drive drunk to simply find a different area in which to commit that crime. While this is certainly possible, there is more to these announcements than meets the eye. By publicly announcing the sobriety checkpoint, any driver who drives through the checkpoint has essentially consented to sobriety testing, as he or she is considered “informed” of the event.

Sobriety checkpoints effectively deter drunk drivers and remind everyone that keeping sober before driving is essential. With 38 states currently conducting sobriety checkpoints at various points throughout the year, the effectiveness of the process is clear and is encouraged by government agencies and private organizations. Considering the alternatives to finding a sober ride home, including jail time, court costs and the installation of an ignition interlock device, the best plan for remaining free of any drunk driving charges is to remain sober behind the wheel.

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