The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced that close to 1,300 people were arrested in December for driving under the influence. December is known as a popular month for DUI and DWI crackdowns because it is close to the holiday season and people that might not normally be drinking will be out celebrating. Police officers know this so this past month, while others were out partying, police were putting in overtime trying to prevent drunk drivers from causing a major accident.
In addition, the state also launched a major advertisement campaign that fully informed the citizens of Minnesota of the extra police officers on duty and what their main purpose was. Over the past 5 years, 651 people have been killed in crashes that involved alcohol and throughout the past three Decembers, 28 people have died. This overall number is unacceptable and Minnesota is doing its best trying to discourage people from drinking and driving. They can do this several ways: one, through increased presence, which they have been doing and two, an increased amount of DUI checkpoints. Whether drunk of sober, a dui checkpoint should be taken very seriously.
How to Approach a DUI Checkpoint
The best way to approach a DUI checkpoint is sober. Remember this. You should never drink and drive and if you have been drinking the officers have been trained to look for certain signs. Bu you could have just gotten out of work and are going through one. Remember to just stay calm. This is a pretty routine procedure and if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. The officers are going to ask for certain information that you should have on you at all times. This includes your driver license, your registrations, and your proof of insurance. Be sure to have these ready as you approach the office line. The more prepared you are, the smoother process if will be.
Don’t forget to be friendly. As mentioned before, if you have nothing to hide, then there should be no reason as to why you cannot say hello but at the same time, don’t be overly friendly. The officer doesn’t want to know about your entire night. The police officer may ask you several questions about where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing. Simple yes or no answers should be able fulfill all their questions. Don’t offer any additional information that you think might be helpful unless it really pertains to the issue at hand. If you noticed that someone two cars behind you was swilling the last of a beer bottle, that you might want to mention. But, if you saw someone not wearing their seatbelt, it’s best not to be a tattletale. The police will be able to take care of both situations on their won.
If a police officer makes a statement that you disagree with, it is best not to argue with them. This is only going to draw unnecessary attention to yourself and even if you’re sober, it’s going to delay you getting home. If you can see that you are approaching a DUI checkpoint and have other passengers with you, especially those that have been drinking, make sure they are aware of the seriousness of the situation and treat it as such.
What a Police Officer is Looking For
So when you roll through that DUI checkpoint, a police officer is going to be looking for several things, the main thing is whether you are drunk or sober. They will be able to determine this by using a variety of visual cues. If they think you have been drinking, they will ask you to get out the vehicle and perform several different tests which they will use as probable cause for a DUI. The two main tests law enforcement use are the field sobriety test and the chemical blood test. The field sobriety test is normally performed roadside and includes physical and mental tests. This will test aspects such as eye movement and balance but the field sobriety test can be subjective because results can skewed due to other factors besides alcohol. You can refuse to take this test but you will probably be arrested and then given a chemical test. Just so you know. The chemical test is more accurate and checks your breath, blood, and urine to determine your blood alcohol concentration.
DUI Checkpoint Value
Some people that argue DUI checkpoints are a costly waste of time but with 17,000 people dying each year due to alcohol related crashes, some argue that there needs to be more. Checkpoints establish a deterrent to drinking and driving. When people get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, they don’t think they will get caught but when the chances of getting a DUI go up, the number of people choosing not to drink and drive rises as well.
Checkpoints hold a big part in reducing the number of DUI related deaths and when they are combined with awareness and community support, it can lead to less DUI’s overall. If you are thinking about drinking and driving, just don’t. The impact it can have on your car insurance is huge. By the time you are finished with court costs, you might not even have insurance and will probably have to pay premiums three times higher than before, even if you were a safe driver. Overall, it’s a risk not worth taking.