Group: Holiday weekend DUI checkpoints don’t work

Posted at 7:21 PM, May 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-24 19:21:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- It's that time of year. You're almost sure to hear about beaches, barbecues and DUI checkpoints over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

But one group said DUI checkpoints are not the most effective way for police to crack down on drunk drivers.

The American Beverage Institute said police hand out more tickets for minor violations like broken taillights and expired insurance cards at DUI checkpoints, than they do for drunk driving.

In fact, the group thinks roving police patrols, also known as saturation patrols, are a more effective solution.

In the 2007 study, the American Beverage Institute found that Virginia had a .33 percent checkpoint success rate versus an 8.1 percent success rate for roving patrols. That means roving patrols were 24.5 times more effective catching drunk drivers than checkpoints, according to the study.

Virginia State Police Sergeant Thomas Molnar, who would not comment specifically on the study, said that state police use roving patrols with DUI checkpoints.

"We are out here telling the public that if you're out here under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be arrested,” said Molnar. "If people try to avoid some of these sobriety checkpoints, let them. Let it be known that there are troopers and other law enforcement agencies out there patrolling in the area to enforce the DUI laws."

On the other hand, driver  Levi Jones thinks roving patrols would work better for catching drunk drivers.

"It would be more effective to track them down to try to find out the condition of what they are in,” said Jones.

Chris Konschak, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), said the organization supports both DUI checkpoints and roving patrols because they deter impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel.

Around Central Virginia, CBS 6 found that Henrico police use both enforcement measures. However, Richmond police said they only use DUI checkpoints. CBS 6 is still waiting to hear back from Chesterfield police on the matter. (We'll update this story once they let us know.)