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Sobriety Checkpoints: Like It or Not, They Work

Categories: Auto Accidents

By Arthur D. Leritz. Posted on .

The idea of sobriety checkpoints are a controversial issue here in Washington State, despite the fact that they seem to work.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, those states that have sobriety checkpoints reduced alcohol-related fatal, injury and property damage crashes each by about 20%.[1]   This same study also found a correlation between the frequency/publicity of sobriety checkpoints and a reduction in alcohol-related fatalities: the more checkpoints that are conducted, the lower the amount of driving deaths caused by impaired driving. iStock_000018130522XSmall (2)

Washington is only one of 12 states that do not allow sobriety checkpoints.[2]  Sobriety checkpoints are currently not legal in Washington State and it may very well take an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize these checkpoints.  This idea is gaining in popularity after recent highly publicized cases involving deaths and serious injuries due to impaired driving, such as the recent case in North Seattle where a mother and her infant son were severely injured and the grandparents were killed as they were crossing the street when they were hit by an impaired driver.  Just this week, Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, said that his staff is drafting language for a new bill to authorize the checkpoints, which would stop drivers even if they have done nothing wrong.  Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, has said that he plans to hold a hearing on the proposal.[3]

If you see someone driving erratically, call 911.  If you, a friend or family member has been injured as a result of impaired driving, the Attorneys at Adler Giersch, PS are ready and willing to help you.



[1] Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Safety Offices, 6th Ed. 2011 DOT HS S11 444.

[2] Checkpoints are permitted under the United States Constitution.

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