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Intrusive DUI Checkpoints Under Scrutiny

Posted on behalf of Harbin & Burnett on Jan 08, 2014 in Auto Accidents

Despite the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) insistence that their voluntary roadside checkpoints are for the safety of the nation, many are saying it is intrusive.

The NHTSA uses a subcontractor which hires off-duty but uniformed police officers to set up and perform voluntary roadside checkpoints. Motorists are asked about their behavior behind the wheel and sometimes workers will collect blood and saliva samples in addition to Breathalyzer testing. Drivers are not charged at checkpoints.

Although the NHTSA gathers the information for use in drunk driving and impaired driving programs. In an emailed statement to USA Today the NHTSA defended the survey saying that Each year, close to 10,000 people die in drunk driving crashes: 27 people a day, or one person every 53 minutes The agency goes on to say that the surveys allow for a better understanding of the issue and that more than 60 communities across the country this year.

The checkpoints have spurred complaints around the nation including communities in the Fort Worth area, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.

Although the checkpoints are voluntary, many people including a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania believe the mere presence of uniformed officers can cause citizens to think it is mandatory to stop and participate. She goes on to suggest that there are other places where drivers can be talked to such as rest stops and toll booths.

The National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drugged Driving has been conducted in communities for more than 40 years. However, in a time when many distrust the government and surveillance online and in real-life runs rampant many believe this is just another example of big brother watching your every move.

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