Each year, the United States sees more than 17,000 people killed and more than 500,000 injured as a result of alcohol-related car accidents. A person dies every 30 minutes in this country because of drunk driving. DUI fatalities account for nearly a third of all traffic accident deaths in the country. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers funding to states for distribution to various law enforcement agencies to hold sobriety checkpoints, especially during weekends and holidays when people are most likely to be out on the streets. In Rhode Island, a MADD study found that 38% of all car accident deaths were due to a drunk-driving car accident. Furthermore, an increase in Rhode Island car accidents are found during the summer months, especially around the Fourth of July.
What is a DUI checkpoint?
A DUI-sobriety checkpoint is a police-stationed roadblock created to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment. In most states, the locations and times must be pre-determined and publicized ahead of time under the state law. Police officers either stop every vehicle or stop them at regular intervals. Typically, the officer would ask the driver a few questions. If the officer suspects that the driver has been drinking, he may ask the driver to take a sobriety test. Due to legal issues surrounding their use, not all states conduct sobriety checkpoints. For example, in the New England area, including Rhode Island, sobriety checkpoints are illegal under a decision made by the State Supreme Court. However, in Massachusetts, sobriety checkpoints are conducted regularly, year-round.
Would Checkpoints Help Reduce Rhode Island Car Accidents?
Research does show that a potential way to prevent Rhode Island car accidents is to increase high-profile enforcement efforts, particularly through regularly conducted sobriety checkpoints. Some recent studies, such as one by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have even shown that such checkpoints may cut the death toll by up to 20%. Studies also show that these checkpoints are more effective in urban areas compared to rural areas. Those in favor of checkpoints say that it is well worth the money and the effort in order to save precious lives. Often, police officers use the checkpoint as an opportunity to hand out brochures and information about the dangers of driving under the influence as a way to reduce the amount of car accidents.
Contact a Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact one of our experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyers. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. No fees are received unless you win your case. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call us toll free at 1-800-992-6878. You may also fill out our contact form online.