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57 DUI Arrests Made During 3 Sobriety Checkpoints

Drinking and driving adds up to a losing combination.

MAY 13, 2010 -- Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp describes a perfect sobriety checkpoint as being one in which no DUI arrests are made because no one is driving drunk. "But we don't live in a perfect world," Sheriff Sharp noted. "That's why having these checkpoints is a necessity."

Drunk drivers pose such a grave risk to others and themselves, Jackson County's Sheriff Office has eagerly teamed with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol to conduct a series of sobriety checkpoints. Three recent checkpoints -- April 30, May 7 and May 8 -- resulted in 57 DUI arrests.

"Combined, those three checkpoints were up and running a total of 15 hours," said Sergeant Lane Eitel, head of the Jackson County Sheriff's Traffic Unit. "So our deputies, the KCPD officers and state troopers manning these checkpoints averaged nearly four DUI arrests per hour. Getting that many drunk drivers off the road made these checkpoints a big success."

While the checkpoints focused on drunk drivers, arrests for other crimes were made and tickets for other violations were issued. The breakdown for the three recent checkpoints was as follows:

April 30 at 70th & Troost in Kansas City

A total of 298 vehicles were stopped, with 14 DUI arrests made, along with...

  • 4 driving while revoked/suspended,
  • 1 State charge of carrying a concealed weapon,
  • 1 City possession of marijuana,
  • 1 City charge of hindering an officer,
  • 1 City charge of resisting arrest,
  • 5 other traffic violations,
  • and 6 Kansas City warrants.

May 7 at 7712 Wornall in Kansas City

A total of 621 vehicles were stopped, with 20 DUI arrests made, along with...

  • 4 driving while revoked/suspended,
  • 2 hazardous moving violations,
  • 2 City possession of marijuana,
  • 2 City possession of drug paraphernalia,
  • 2 charges of minors in possession of alcohol,
  • 1 charge of resisting arrest,
  • 7 other traffic violations,
  • and 2 Kansas City warrants.

May 8 at 39th & Southwest Trafficway in Kansas City

A total of 757 vehicles were stopped, with 23 DUI arrests made, along with...

  • 3 driving while revoked/suspended,
  • 5 hazardous moving violations,
  • 1 State charge of possession of a controlled substance,
  • 1 City charge of possession of marijuana,
  • 1 charge of a minor in possession of alcohol,
  • 1 City charge of possession of a firearm while intoxicated,
  • 5 other traffic violations,
  • and 5 Kansas City warrants.

"Having these checkpoints is a detterent to drunk driving," Sheriff Sharp stressed. "We'll continue to participate in them because reducing drunk driving saves lives, pure and simple.

"When you drink and drive, getting arrested isn't the worst thing that could happen to you," he continued. "Causing an accident that results in injuries or deaths is. While we do stop a lot of perfectly law-abiding drivers at these checkpoints, we hope they understand having the checkpoints makes the roads safer for them."

Supreme Court Ruling

In its 1990 Michigan v. Sitz decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints were constitutional. The Court declared that the States' interest in saving lives through apprehending drunk drivers overwhelmed the minor inconvenience for a driver being stopped at a checkpoint.

"No one can seriously dispute the magnitude of the drunken driving problem or the States' interest in eradicating it," the Court's majority opinion stated. "Media reports of alcohol-related death and mutilation on the Nation's roads are legion."

CLICK HERE to read the Court's entire opinion in Michigan v. Sitz.

Checkpoints Reduce Drunk Driving

The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appoints, urges the use of sobriety checkpoints as a preventive step to the risks drunk driving poses. The Task Force concluded:

Sobriety checkpoints are strongly recommended based on their effectiveness in reducing alcohol-impaired driving, alcohol-related crashes and associated fatal and nonfatal injuries in a variety of settings and among various populations. Corollary arrests are a potential added benefit. The brief intrusion this entails into drivers' privacy is generally considered justified by the public interest served by checkpoints.

A study the Task Force commissioned to explore the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints stated, "Results indicate that sobriety checkpoints consistently reduce alcohol-related crashes, typically by about 20 percent. The results were similar regardless of how the checkpoints were conducted, for short-term 'blitzes,' or when checkpoints were used continuously for several years. This suggests that the effectiveness of checkpoints does not diminish over time."



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