I’m not a fan, at all, of “sobriety checkpoints” on the roadways. Having grown up in the Cold War era, the whole idea has a bit too much of a “Can I see your papers, Comrade?” flavor to it for my tastes. Checkpoints where armed, uniformed agents of the state stop and question average citizens driving down the street were the kind of thing we used to point to under Communism in the old Soviet Union and say, “That doesn’t happen in America.”
But today, in many states, it does. And perhaps soon in Texas, too.
That said, SB 298 by Sen. John Carona authorizing sobriety checkpoints is one of the best efforts I’ve seen to focus the tactic in tightly on its stated goal of reducing drunk driving while avoiding Big Brother-esque pitfalls and revenue generation schemes that make civil libertarians wince at the tactic. Carona’s bill was placed on yesterday’s “intent calendar” in the senate (meaning it was eligible to be debated and voted on), but was usurped on the agenda by debates over higher education and the top ten percent rule. It could be voted on in the Texas Senate as soon as today.
I still oppose sobriety checkpoints and thus on principle I oppose this bill. I just don’t like the idea of police stopping motorists without probable cause, believing traditional DWI enforcement tactics work better and are less invasive. But if you think drunk driving is so bad that it warrants use of more totalitarian tactics, the limits Sen. Carona places on checkpoints are a laudable effort to address the main criticisms of the practice while still authorizing its use.
Here’s a summary of the legislation, which passed 9-0 out of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee:
Please click on the link below to read more…
via Sen. John Carona proposes best sobriety checkpoint bill I’ve ever opposed | pegasusnews.com | Dallas / Fort Worth.