By Frank Lewis
August 23, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
According to local law enforcement agents, one of the most effective tools they employ is the OVI (Operating a Vehicle under the Influence) checkpoint. Now, Lieutenant M.R. Gore, commander of the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, is announcing a multi-agency OVI sobriety checkpoint will be in operation in Scioto County Saturday night.
Gore said the OVI checkpoint, funded by federal grant funds, is planned to deter and intercept impaired drivers.
“Sobriety Checkpoints are a safe and effective deterrent to impaired driving and are the ideal complement in our state’s OVI enforcement efforts,” Gore said “The location of the checkpoint will be announced Saturday morning.”
Sobriety checkpoints, first employed by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in July 1989, are enforcement tools which mirror the Patrol’s objectives and provide that essential mix crucial to effective law enforcement goals. Because their primary goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate alcohol-related fatalities and injuries, the OSHP says they must complement their enforcement efforts with deterrence through awareness and education.
The OSHP says the principal benefit of a sobriety checkpoint is its deterrent affect on drinking drivers or potential drinking drivers. This deterrent affect has been proven to be enduring. Although a large number of OVI arrests are not expected, there is a greater perceived risk of arrests because of awareness efforts.
On June 14, 1990, the United State Supreme Court reviewed and upheld the use of sobriety checkpoints as a valid enforcement tool if operated within guidelines.
According to the Patrol the first and perhaps the most important requirement for the establishment of a sobriety checkpoint is that the site of the check must have a long term history of alcohol-related crashes and/or incidents of impaired driving. This test establishes the need for their extraordinary deterrent efforts. After the agency establishes the need, administrators must begin the process of planning and organizing this rather substantial undertaking. Once the logistical, staffing, and operational needs have been addressed, the actual process of conducting a sobriety checkpoint can begin.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.