It is a question we all ask ourselves eventually. In the current climate of increasing taxes, larger police forces and expanding DUI checkpoints and roving patrols, we all tend to wonder what we are getting out of the deal. It has been alleged that traffic and speeding tickets are simply a vehicle for police departments to increase revenue and justify increased staff numbers. Are DUI checkpoints in Delaware County, Chester Count and Philly the same sort of thing? A new Philly.com article would say NO. Just look at the numbers from the Pennsylvania DUI Association:
In Pennsylvania, which is one of 38 states that allows sobriety checkpoints, DUI-related fatalities have steadily decreased (404 last year, down from 542 in 2004), even as the number of arrests for people driving under the influence of drugs has increased dramatically (14,953 last year, up from 5,529 in 2004), according to George Geisler of the Pennsylvania DUI Association, which provides technical assistance to law enforcement officials.
Yes, these checkpoints bring up questions about rights to privacy and illegal searches. Yes, penalties for DUI have increased dramatically over the past two decades. However, when we see such a dramatic decrease in DUI related fatalities we must admit that these tactics have saved lives. Food for thought.