The Blockwatch Beat
Last week I had the opportunity to help the Columbus Division of Police keep statistics at a sobriety checkpoint on High Street. I was shocked at the results.
Six hundred cars drove down High Street and every third car was diverted into the checkpoint. Of those 200 cars, 20 were further investigated.
How many drunk drivers would you expect on High Street on a Friday night, two or three? One out of every 20 drivers was charged with drunk driving that night. Another one in 20 was charged with driving without a license or other charges.
There was one lady I truly felt sorry for. She was 35, it was her birthday, and she was celebrating with her teenage son. It was obvious she was a single mother and her son was well behaved and respectful. I kept hoping that a mistake had been made and she would pass the tests, but as I watched, she failed miserably.
Unfortunately, that mother was the only one I felt sorry for that night. All of the others were so drunk I wondered why a test was needed. One man was almost four times the legal limit.
Stop and think about that. One in 20 drivers that you pass on a Friday night is most likely drunk. With those statistics I wish we had sobriety checkpoints every Friday. Drunk driving isn’t limited to Fridays.
I’m certainly in favor of checkpoints. If you are obeying the law the whole process takes less than a minute. That’s a small price to pay to catch these drunk drivers.
I’ve often wondered why the police advertise where checkpoints are going to be. Wouldn’t they catch more drunk drivers if they didn’t? I think most of those charged with DUI were too drunk to know it had been advertised, but by law, sobriety checkpoints must be publicized ahead of time.
What can you do when you see a drunk driver?
First, stay as far away from them as possible. Secondly, don’t try to pass them or signal them to pull over. That could be very dangerous. Thirdly, note the license plate number along with a description of the vehicle, but do not compromise your safety trying to attain the information. Finally, pull over and call 911. Give the exact location and direction the vehicle.
Then leave the rest up to the police.