Sobriety checkpoints are spots along roads where police stop passing vehicles to screen for possible criminal behavior, including driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. However, recent moves in New Hampshire’s legislature to eliminate or restrict police power to hold NH sobriety checkpoints has made many New Hampshire drivers wonder: why are sobriety checkpoints such a popular method of deterring potential drunk driving?
According to a study from Texas A&M University, sobriety checkpoints are popular because studies show they work to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road. For instance, studies in Tennessee and other states have found that sobriety checkpoints reduce alcohol-related accidents by 20 percent or more, and the effects can last for months after the checkpoint itself has been closed. Drivers are more likely to practice safe driving, such as relying on a designated driver or public transportation, if they want to go out and drink but believe they might be stopped if they drive themselves.
Also, sobriety checkpoints are popular among many state governments because they are considered cheaper than other methods, such as roving patrols. Only a few officers are needed to run a sobriety checkpoint, but they may make as many arrests in one night as twice as many officers on roving patrols. The study did not indicate how many of these arrests later lead to conviction, however.