Most drivers have likely at least heard of DUI checkpoints before, even if they have not encountered one.
What are these checkpoints? And why do they pose something potentially controversial?
Defining a checkpoint
LifeSafer looks at DUI checkpoints and their purpose. A DUI checkpoint is a stretch of road, usually in a busy area, along the highway, or in an area with high rates of intoxicated drivers. Officers will watch this stretch of road and pull over people at random to test them for intoxication.
By entering a DUI checkpoint, drivers give their implied consent to being randomly pulled over and checked for intoxication. This includes potentially being subjected to breath analysis tests, field sobriety tests and more.
The point of controversy
This poses a potentially controversial issue because many people do not like giving police this much power. Groups of people that may feel more targeted by police also likely do not find the randomization of DUI checkpoints to be thorough enough, or fair.
Thus, many states not only require police to give drivers a head up about entering a DUI checkpoint, but they also require officers to provide drivers with an alternative route. This allows them to avoid the checkpoint if they do not want to risk being pulled over.
Even if an officer does not provide an alternative route, it is still possible for drivers to leave and avoid the checkpoint on their own. The most important factor is for drivers to do so legally, to avoid getting pulled over for breaking traffic laws.