Police in Martinez, California are looking to crack down on DUI drivers in the coming months thanks to a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The $21,515 grant will be used by police to increase sobriety checkpoints in order to stop drivers who are intoxicated before they can cause an accident. Police in the city believe that sobriety checkpoints are the key to eliminating DUI accidents.
“DUI checkpoints have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed from 2006 to 2010 in California,” said Martinez Police Chief Gary Peterson.
While it is always a good idea to take measures to decrease traffic accidents, there were only 7 DUI related injuries in 2011 in Martinez. With numbers that small to begin with, the idea that increased roadblocks will be able to stop 100% of people drivers who are really a danger seems like a pipe dream. Instead, a checkpoint is more likely to lead to innocent people being accused of intoxication by police officers eager to make arrests.
Many sobriety checkpoints fail to yield any arrests. It seems the fact that citizens are aware that police do set up checkpoints makes a bigger difference in reducing DUI rates than when police actually set up a checkpoint. Currently, Martinez sets up checkpoints. This grant is being used to increase the number roadblocks.
There is no information on any other efforts police are taking to stop traffic fatalities. Driving under the influence is the cause of one third of all fatal accidents. That means that the majority of fatal accidents are caused by other forces, like bad driving. In order to stop all driving fatalities, police cannot rely on DUI enforcement alone. Other measures should be taken to better prepare drivers to deal with car maintenance issues and to be aware of the dangerous of texting while driving.