National organization sounds off on drunk driving study - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jamel Major

National organization sounds off on drunk driving study

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A national organization said drunk driving checkpoints are a waste of taxpayer money. And that has some Mid-South mothers MADD.

Officers will be out in full force this holiday looking for those who drink and get behind the wheel. So what is the best way to find drunk drivers? It depends on who you ask.
While this holiday season may be a time for celebrating, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has an important warning.

"Designate a driver...have fun...but don't hurt another family," Dell Russell of MADD said.

The American Beverage Institute agrees, but said current DUI checkpoints just do not work. They have released new information asking police to use roving patrols instead. 

"They are cops who are out on the streets looking for people who are behaving dangerously...whether it's speeding, swerving or being distracted," Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute said.

According to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, they have conducted 24 rolling enforcement efforts this year leading to 18 drunk driving arrests.

Dell Russell's husband was killed by a drunk driver 13 years ago.  Russell believes sobriety checkpoints are the best way to find drunk drivers.

"If you have a suspended or revoked license, it's generally for DUI.  The ones that have been drinking and other various crimes that have been committed, they catch them at sobriety checkpoints, so they're very effective," Russell said.

However, Sarah Longwell with ABI says roadblocks are a waste of taxpayer dollars because they often target responsible drinkers, or those who have not been drinking at all.

"These sobriety checkpoints are a bunch of cops stationed in one area waiting for drunk drivers to come to them.  That's not targeted enforcement," Longwell said.

According to the American Beverage Institute, it costs law enforcement about $10,000 to run a sobriety checkpoint. A roving patrol costs about $300 per patrol car.

Click here to e-mail Jamel Major.

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