An advocacy group is calling for sobriety checkpoints in Wisconsin, and clearing up myths about the practice.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving Wisconsin Public Policy Liaison John Vose says many concerns about the checkpoints are based on fallacies, like the belief that checkpoints are a lengthy inconvenience to law-abiding citizens. “True sobriety checkpoints take no longer to stop, you know, than it takes for a red light. People are not overly inconvenienced.”
Vose says typically law enforcement would announce the time and location of sobriety checkpoints in advance. “And then generally what law enforcement would do is basically pull over maybe every third car or every fifth car or something like that, ask a couple of very quick questions, and then the large majority of drivers would be on their way.”
Vose says there’s a misconception that law enforcement simply wants to use sobriety checkpoints to arrest lots of people and put them in jail. Instead, he says, people actually stop drinking or find other means of transportation rather than getting behind the wheel. He says the most successful sobriety checkpoints result in no arrests.
Lawmakers must weigh safety on the roads against a citizen’s privacy. Opponents call the random roadblocks a threat to individual civil liberties. They say stopping motorists without probable cause is unconstitutional.
Drunk driving costs the United States more than $132 billion annually.