Escondido police held yet another DUI checkpoint outside Police Headquarters Friday detaining zero DUI drivers among 1,579 vehicles passing through barricades.
This followed similar checkpoints in March that caught two DUI drivers out of 1,120 vehicles and February that caught one DUI driver out of 1,393 vehicles. A November 2015 checkpoint also caught zero DUI drivers out of 2,514 vehicles inspected.
Ten previous 2015 checkpoints caught 23 DUI drivers out of 16,271 vehicles.
The California Office of Traffic Safety on Nov. 9, 2015 awarded Escondido police a $309,726 grant from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.
“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent,” Escondido police Lt. Mike Kearney said in a news release disclosing the Friday the 13th checkpoint results. “Ninety Percent of California drivers approve of checkpoints.”
Kearney added: “DUI/Driver’s License checkpoints have been shown to lower DUI deaths and injuries. A major component of these checkpoints are the deterrent effects it has on those who might drive drunk or drugged impaired, bringing about more awareness and encouraging everyone to use sober designated drivers.”
The last two checkpoints have been held directly outside Police Headquarters. Friday’s event also resulted in 21 citations issued including 13 for unlicensed drivers, two for suspended licenses and two for no insurance, Kearney said. Police passed out educational material regarding DUI problems, he added.
A full accounting of all Escondido police DUI checkpoints since January 2013 can be found at http://escondidocheckpoints.blogspot.com.
“Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out,” Kearney said.
DUI checkpoints are authorized in 38 states. Checkpoints generally net relatively few drunken-driving arrests, but police and other experts say they have deterrent and educational value.
“DUI checkpoints are proven to be effective at deterring drunk drivers,” said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “The goal is not to write tickets or make arrests but rather to remind the public that they should drive sober or face serious consequences.”
Critics of sobriety checkpoints say they are less effective than random patrols and encroach on civil liberties. Some police argue that if drivers can pinpoint the locations of DUI checkpoints, some will drink all they want, and then drive on roads that skirt the crackdowns.
Roving DUI patrols also are considered more cost effective. “Each roving patrol costs about $300, while a single sobriety checkpoint can cost between $8,000 and $10,000,” said Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute.
“States should resist enforcement measures that try to catch drunken drivers in the checkpoint traps they already know to avoid,” Longwell said. “Instead, let’s use our tax dollars and our police officers more efficiently by utilizing roving patrols.”