Vehicle Sobriety Checkpoints in Texas

Dahl, Kevin
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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)
Texas is consistently the leading state when it comes to traffic fatalities related to drunk driving. Texas leads the second highest state, California, by several hundred deaths in many years (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1996-2018). The majority of other states (37) have implemented a system of driver checkpoints to assist police officers in identifying intoxicated drivers behind the wheel in vehicles (Governors Highway Safety Association, 2016). Texas, however, has not employed such a system. In order to reduce serious accidents and provide deterrence to driving while intoxicated (DWI) citations, the Texas Legislature should take action, and vehicle sobriety checkpoints should be implemented in Texas. This author asserts that instigating checkpoints in Texas would reduce injury and fatality accidents by providing a system for officers to stop drunk drivers prior to being involved in accidents. The paper will also show how checkpoints provide deterrence to drunk driving by increasing visibility of DWI arrests, as well as through public notification of the checkpoints in the media. Finally, this paper will review several counter arguments to DWI checkpoints that include constitutional challenges and a history of their use by police agencies for racial profiling.
Drunk driving, Roadside sobriety tests