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DUI Sobriety Checkpoints as a Strategy to Protect Serious Car Accidents

September 12, 2016

Georgia DUI Accident Injury Lawyers Evaluate DUI Sobriety Checkpoints as a Strategy to Protect Serious Car Accidents

Those who drive under the influence of alcohol continue to account for an unacceptable number of serious accidents that result in injuries and fatalities involving law-abiding drivers. Nationally, 1.5 million people will be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in a typical year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Drunk drivers also account for about a third of all traffic-related fatalities.

Georgia has seen consistent improvement in terms of drunk driving deaths with fatalities declining annually over a recent seven-year period from a high of 433 to a low of 277. Despite this progress, many families continue to experience devastating consequences when a loved one is injured or killed by a drunk driver. Sobriety checkpoints constitute a controversial law enforcement tool used to curb the unsafe practice of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. In this blog, our Georgia DUI accident injury lawyers evaluate this approach to improving roadway safety in and around the Atlanta-Metro area.

The Case against the Use of DUI Checkpoints to Prevent Drunk Driving

Our drunk driving accident attorneys recognize that some critics believe DUI sobriety checkpoints have limited effectiveness in preventing alcohol-related car accidents. Critics of checkpoints contend that few drunk drivers are arrested for driving under the influence at DUI roadblocks. Sobriety checkpoint advocates counter that this DUI enforcement tool is a mechanism for deterring potential drunk drivers. While it is probably reasonable to assume that DUI sobriety checkpoints serve as a deterrent for moderate and social drinkers, this law enforcement tool probably has minimal impact on habitual drinkers.

Opponents of sobriety checkpoints point to multiple studies that indicate a small percentage of the motorists who pass through roadblocks are arrested for drunk driving. For example, a Chicago Tribune report compared multiple sobriety checkpoints operated in several cities and found that the number of DUI arrests ranged from two percent to a high of eleven percent. Predictably, a report from the American Beverage Institute paints an even more dismal picture that indicates DUI roadblocks yield only a one percent arrest rate for drunk driving violations.

Sobriety Checkpoint Effectiveness Is Based on Deterrence and Cumulative Arrests

This focus on DUI arrests at checkpoints is misleading for a few reasons. DUI checkpoints are not meant to arrest drivers but rather encourage those who might otherwise choose to drive while intoxicated to make alternative arrangements. Multiple studies reveal that the effectiveness of this law enforcement tool is linked to the extent the roadblock is publicized before implementation. Although it might seem that checkpoints would be more effective if they were not well publicized and conspicuous, the purpose of these checkpoints is not to snag drunk drivers. Rather, the objective is to deter people from driving while intoxicated by increasing the fear of a DUI arrest.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta (CDC) involving a systematic review of eleven "high-quality studies" found DUI checkpoints reduced alcohol-related fatalities, injuries, and property damage by about 20 percent each. A separate meta-analysis (e.g. aggregation of results of multiple studies) found that checkpoints reduce drunk driving crashes by seventeen percent and all crashes by ten to fifteen percent. Moreover, another study that analyzed results of sobriety checkpoint programs in seven states revealed that the programs reduced alcohol-related traffic fatalities by eleven to twenty percent.

Even aside from the deterrent effect of DUI roadblocks, this drunk driving prevention measure does lead to a significant number of arrests. Millions of people pass through DUI sobriety checkpoints, so even a small percentage of DUI arrests amounts to tens of thousands of DUI drivers who are removed from U.S. roadways.

Drunk Driving Roadblocks Also Promote Public Safety by Taking Unlicensed Drivers off of Georgia Roadways

Another key factor often overlooked when evaluating the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints in promoting public safety is the fact that many motorists removed from the road do not have a valid driver's license. Drivers who are operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license may not even have satisfied the requirements to obtain a license, or they might have had their driving privileges suspended or revoked because of accidents, DUI convictions, or other serious or repeated traffic violations. When considering the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints, the fact that a substantial number of drivers without a valid license are removed from the road also must be considered a safety advantage. While checking to see if drivers have a valid license cannot be the focus of a sobriety checkpoint, it is a secondary benefit.

Admittedly, reasonable minds may differ on whether the economics of sobriety checkpoints makes them the most cost-effective method of preventing collisions involving intoxicated drivers. However, there can be little doubt that removing intoxicated and unlicensed drivers from our roads makes law-abiding drivers and passengers safer. If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident in Atlanta or the surrounding areas of Georgia, our lawyers at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, fight to aggressively pursue the fullest compensation within the bounds of the law for our clients who are victims of drunk drivers and their families.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!

Our law firm has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout Georgia and in the Southeast for over 39 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located, the attorneys of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 529-6333
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Related Pages: Columbus Car Accident LawyersAugusta GA Car accident lawyersCar Accident Lawyers in GeorgiaCar Accident Lawyers in AtlantaCar Accident Lawyers in AthensAlbany Car Accident Lawyers.


Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.