beat the txt

29 Dec

Along with the holidays comes the age-old tradition of hyped up enforcement of drunk driving laws around the country. No doubt you’ve seen the sobriety checkpoints, set up to thwart drunk drivers and deter anyone sober enough to fear arrest. But fear not my liquored-up friends, for technology is on your side… in a sense…

Drivers are using text messages, Twitter, iPhone apps and other savvy tech tools to inform others of sobriety checkpoint locations. While warning others about checkpoints is one thing, using that information to justify drunk driving is quite another. Checkpoints are set up to prevent individuals from driving in the first place and broadcasting this information has the potential to deter drunk individuals from driving. However, people could use location information to come up with routes avoiding these checkpoints and encouraging drunk driving… which is slightly problematic, both for law enforcement and drivers (drunk or not).

The primary goal of checkpoints is not to remove drunk drivers from the road, but to reduce driving after drinking by increasing the perceived risk of arrest. Unlike checkpoints,  saturation patrols are the real threat to drunk drivers. These patrols are areas with a high concentration of officers on the move. Compared to checkpoints, patrols produce about seven times as many DUI arrests.

I’m all for a good time and empowerment through technology, but seriously, if you’re going to drink, have a designated driver, take a taxi, or sober it up while you figure out (the lack of) public transportation at dark-thirty in the morning. Cheers.

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