Fell, James C.
; Ferguson, Susan A.; Williams, Allan F.; and Fields, Michelle
In Proceedings of Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety - T 2002: 16th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety, August 4-9, 2002
pgs. 659-663 , Montreal, Canada: Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (2002)
Editor(s): Mayhew, D.R.; and Dussault, C.Sobriety checkpoints have been used by police in the United States for at least the past two decades to enforce impaired driving laws. Research has indicated that sobriety checkpoints are effective in reducing drinking and driving and alcohol-related fatal crashes. Despite this evidence, many police agencies have been unenthusiastic about using checkpoints. Information was collected from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia on the use of sobriety checkpoints. A total of 37 states reported conducting sobriety checkpoints at least once or twice during the year. Only 11 states reported that checkpoints were conducted on a weekly basis. Thirteen states do not conduct checkpoints because of either legal or policy issues. More detailed information was collected from 5 states that conduct checkpoints frequently and matched with information from 5 similar states that conduct checkpoints infrequently. States with frequent checkpoint programs had several common features such as program themes, support from task forces and citizen activist groups, use of a moderate number of police at the checkpoints, and use of all available funding mechanisms (federal, state, local) to support them. States with infrequent checkpoints claimed a lack of funding and police resources as reasons for not conducting more checkpoints, preferred saturation patrols over checkpoints because they were more "productive," and used large numbers of police officers when they did conduct checkpoints. Ways to overcome perceived barriers to checkpoint use are discussed.