Last week, we reported that multiple Missouri law enforcement agencies would participate in statewide DWI prevention efforts over St. Pat's weekend. Today, our Greene County car accident lawyers learned that the Springfield Police Department's contribution to this initiative was a success.
About 20-25 officers from the SPD conducted a DWI checkpoint last Friday night at the intersection of South Campbell Avenue and West Meadowmere Street. As a result, they made several arrests:
• 10 drivers were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
• 4 drivers were arrested for possession of drugs.
• 1 driver was arrested for an outstanding warrant.
• 8 drivers were cited for driving with a suspended license.
At the same time, the Greene County Sheriff's Department conducted its own checkpoint at South Campbell Avenue and Farm Road 192: deputies arrested 2 drivers for DWI, and 11 drivers for assorted violations, including drugs and driving without a valid license.
Sheriff Jim Arnott called the effort a success, and praised his team for their initiative. "These projects could not happen without so many employees volunteering to work overtime hours to help keep the Greene County roadways safe for all of us," Arnott said.
How does a checkpoint work?
In a recent news release, the SPD described the basic method that officers use to conduct sobriety checkpoints:
• Approaching traffic is divided into 2 lanes and directed to stop at a specific point.
• A police officer will speak to each driver and ask for a valid driver's license.
• The officer will also ask each driver if he or she has been drinking.
• Provided the driver is properly licensed and sober, he or she will be waved through the checkpoint, and should not be detained for any longer than 3 minutes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), these checkpoints offer the following benefits:
• Checkpoints make the public more aware of police efforts to stop impaired drivers, "[increasing] the perceived risk of detection" and thus "[contributing] significantly to general and specific deterrence."
• Checkpoints contribute to a decrease in accident fatalities caused by drunk drivers: NHTSA cites a median decrease of 20%.
• Some critics argue that checkpoints cost more and are less effective than saturation programs, where officers target and patrol a specific section of roadway. However, supporters maintain that that criticism overlooks the true aim of checkpoints. "Used to deter drinking and driving, sobriety checkpoints are related more directly to educating the public and encouraging designated drivers, rather than actually apprehending impaired drivers," said Staff Lieutenant Jeffrey Greene of the Ohio Highway Patrol. (To read Lieutenant Greene's article, "Battling DUI," from the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, click here.)
If you see an impaired driver on the roadway, you can call the Missouri Highway Patrol Emergency Hotline at 1-800-525-5555 (*55 on a mobile phone).
The lawyers at Aaron Sachs and Associates represent accident injury victims in Springfield, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Rogersville, Willard and the surrounding areas. To schedule a free initial consultation, please contact our office at 1-888-777-AUTO.