According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2,597 people were killed in United States traffic accidents in December 2010. Of those, 775 deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers. Impaired driving is responsible for almost 11,000 auto accident fatalities annually. It would seem that any law enforcement mechanism that could reduce the number of DUI-related fatalities would be welcomed. However, differing opinions argue the effectiveness of DUI checkpoints.
Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.
Alcoholic beverage manufacturers argue that DUI checkpoints are costly and statistically ineffective. A frequent contention is that DUI checkpoints target moderate drinkers and drivers who may only be marginally over the legal limit for safe driving. Law enforcement agencies and drunk driving advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) claim that DUI checkpoints are effective deterrents for moderate drinkers and repeat drunk drivers.
It is difficult to scientifically measure the effectiveness of DUI checkpoints because they are frequently used with other law enforcement methods. Georgia law enforcement uses mobile DUI patrols and liquor store surveillance.
United States drunk driving checkpoints viewed over 1 million vehicles in 2008 according to information released by the alcoholic beverage industry. Only one-third of one percent of the observed drivers was arrested for DUI. It is estimated that 220,000 drivers were stopped at Georgia DUI checkpoints in 2008 and less than one-tenth of one percent of them was charged with DUI. The alcoholic beverage industry argues that DUI checkpoints are a big expense and use of law enforcement resources that yields few DUI arrests.
Law enforcement agencies claim that DUI checkpoints are effective because 2.5 percent of drivers stopped at Georgia checkpoints received a citation for offenses not related to DUI. Organizations such as MADD claim that the purpose of DUI checkpoints is not necessarily to arrest drunk drivers but rather to discourage drunk driving. Indeed, MADD cites to the low number of DUI arrests at checkpoints as proof that the checkpoints are an effective deterrent.
If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact Shane Smith Law to schedule a free legal consultation.