Are DUI checkpoints effective?

To the Editor:

DUI checkpoints have been in operation in Ridgecrest for a number of years. The stated reasoning behind their use is to create a deterrent effect on the population of Ridgecrest drivers who may be inclined to consume alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle while in an impaired state of ability.

The use of checkpoints is stated by the California Office of Traffic Safety and the Ridgecrest Police Department to reduce DUI-related crashes by 20 percent. There have been studies done where these statistics originate. The most notable is a large scale “metastudy” compiled by the CDC.

In this study (

ckpts.html) the median percentage decrease was stated to be only 8.9 percent. One wonders where the 20-percent number that is claimed was derived.

I had a long pleasant talk with a Mr. Chris Cochran of the California OTS concerning on this subject. He was very informative on the subject in general and held a firm belief that DUI checkpoints were an effective means of deterrence. If that opinion is correct, we should be able to see results here in our town from their use.

Let us look at the hard facts from the three DUI checkpoints performed in Ridgecrest since Nov 2012.

Checkpoint Date Offficers Cost$Stopped Arrests

Nov 2493,080 440 0

Dec 2292,736 204 0

Dec 3172,840 234 0

Totals8,656 878 0

The numbers from our DUI checkpoints seem to show a disappointing level of effectiveness. Having almost 900 drivers stopped with 0 DUI arrests would say that they are not useful in getting DUI drivers off the street. If none are getting arrested, there is no deterrent effect.

Why would they worry about them? What is the point? The only thing getting accomplished here is that lots of people are getting accustomed to be stopped on their way about their business for no good reason. If you do this enough times, you begin to have a populace that has conceded yet another freedom.

We have enough “checkpoints” in our lives these days. Just try to travel around and see how many you have to suffer. Agricultural, border, train station, airport, bus checkpoints are just some of them. Do we need more here in our town, when no results are being seen? I don’t care about the studies, I care about my freedoms and those of my fellow citizens. Free men do not want their right to travel impeded for no good reason. Free men say don’t touch my freedom without a real good reason. DUI checkpoints in Ridgecrest don’t pass that test.

Mike Neel

Freedom to the good people of Ridgecrest

Story First Published: 2013-04-10