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St. Patrick’s Day is on Friday this year. That can increase the amount of partying people will do. Law enforcement in san Diego is looking to set up a bunch of DUI checkpoints. The San Diego Sherriff’s office has announced one in Encinitas. The San Diego and El Cajon Police Departments also have announced they will be setting up DUI checkpoints.
SDPD often sets up multiple checkpoints in the Downtown area on the routes most commonly used to leave as many people drink in the Gaslamp and then head home. They also love to set them up near Garnet.
Ironically, DUI checkpoints are a poor way to catch drunk drivers. It has been shown numerous times and acknowledged by courts and law enforcement that the same number of police on regular patrol would catch more. They still do them for the publicity and the overtime pay that comes from grants.
In fact, I had a case recently where a checkpoint caught only one DUI driver wasting several officers for hours. In another, the police sent out a press release about catching five DUI’s. But, they were only stopping and contacting every third vehicle. So, the headline could have just as easily have been, Police Let 10 DUI’s Keep on Cruising Through DUI Checkpoint.
Despite them being a waste of resources, DUI checkpoints will be out in force tomorrow night given its Friday and St. Patrick’s Day. The best way to avoid having any problem with a checkpoint is to simply not drink and drive. But, if you have a Guinness and are driving home, avoid large streets and the areas mentioned above. If you see a checkpoint ahead, you do not have to drive through. They are supposed to be set up so a person has the opportunity to avoid them. But, be aware, there will be cops watching for anyone who looks like they are avoiding the checkpoint. If you commit any vehicle code violations (and maybe even if you don’t), they are going to go after you to pull you over.
They also are not supposed to slow down traffic too much and be well marked. If you go through one, take note of where the first signs warning drivers about it are, is there a way to avoid it, where are cones set up and how long you wait. And, let us know.