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National Group: DUI Checkpoints Ineffective In Stopping Drunk Drivers

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Lt. Stow argues checkpoints addition to arrests serve another purpose: deterrence. Lt. Stow argues checkpoints addition to arrests serve another purpose: deterrence.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A National group that represents restaurants says DUI checkpoints are ineffective in stopping drunk drivers. And they are urging law enforcement to use roving patrols instead this Labor Day.

Oklahoma County and Oklahoma City both have extra officers working the holiday weekend as part of the saturation patrol. And it works, according to Lt.Dan Stow who points to statistics that show a decline in the number of alcohol-related fatalities over the past three years.

8/31/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office To Increase Patrols During Labor Day Weekend

According to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, In Oklahoma in 2010, there were 10 fatalities over the Labor Day Holiday, five were alcohol-related. In 2011, there were six fatalities, one was alcohol-related.

"Additional officers on the roadways have reduced traffic fatality crashes," Lt. Stow said.

The American Beverage Institute says such saturation patrols are the best way to catch drunk drivers.

"Roadblocks target moderate drinkers instead of the root cause of Monday's drunk driving problem - hard core alcohol abusers," said Sarah Longwell, the group's president.

The group also argues checkpoints do not yield a large volume of arrests.

In Oklahoma County over Memorial Day weekend, deputies arrested six people at DUI checkpoints.

A checkpoint, in addition to roving patrols in the weekend before Independence Day, ended in 11 arrests. And at a checkpoint last month, 11 drivers were arrested for DUI.

Still, Lt. Stow argues checkpoints addition to arrests serve another purpose: deterrence.

"It's an awareness thing, the public knows we're out there and we're serious," he said.

Lt. Stow says the Sheriff's department believes checkpoints along with saturation patrols at the same time is the most effective way to catch drunk drivers.

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