SWOV Catalogus


Low-manpower checkpoints : can they provide effective DUI enforcement for small communities.
C 33219 [electronic version only]
Lacey, J.H. Ferguson, S.A. Kelley-Baker, T. & Rider, R.P.
Arlington, VA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety IIHS, 2005, 10 p., 10 ref.; To be published as: Traffic Injury Prevention, Vol. 7 (2006), No. 3 (September), p. 213-218.

Samenvatting When well publicized, sobriety checkpoints can be a highly effective means to reduce alcohol-impaired driving and its associated crashes. One reason checkpoints are underutilized is that police departments commonly believe a large number of officers are required, placing checkpoints beyond the resources of small police agencies. Studies have shown that checkpoints can be conducted successfully and safely with as few as three to five officers. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the impact of conducting small-scale checkpoints in rural communities on impaired driving and perception of enforcement. Law enforcement agencies in two rural counties in West Virginia agreed to conduct weekly checkpoints in their communities for one year. These counties were paired with two non-adjacent counties that did not undertake additional checkpoints. The impact of checkpoint operations was evaluated by conducting public awareness surveys at driver licensing offices as well as roadside surveys (including blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measurements) of weekend nighttime drivers in experimental and comparison counties before program initiation and one year later. The percentage of nighttime drinking drivers in the experimental counties was lower following implementation of the enforcement program. The primary effect was among people with higher BACs. Relative to drivers in the comparison counties, the proportion of drivers in the experimental counties with positive BACs was only 5 percent lower; however, the proportion with BACs of 0.05 percent or more was 70 percent lower, and the proportion with BACs of 0.08 percent or more was 64 percent lower. Compared with drivers in the comparison counties, drivers surveyed at driver’s license offices in the experimental counties after program implementation were more likely to report seeing or passing through a checkpoint and were more aware of publicity on DUI enforcement. Consistent with the small reduction in drinking drivers in the roadside survey, self-reported driving after drinking did not change during the enforcement period. The study demonstrated that small rural communities can safely and effectively conduct low-manpower sobriety checkpoints on a weekly basis. Such programs can be expected to result in large reductions in drivers operating at higher BACs. (Author/publisher)
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