Arizona Cops' DUI Random Roadblock Scorecard: 46,781 Stopped, 282 Arrested, 75 Convicted

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

The stats arrive via from The Arizona Star, which poured over Pima County police records from the last two years. For the mathematically challenged, .06 percent of all drivers stopped at Pima's sobriety checkpoints were convicted of drunk driving. Both the police and anti-drink driving campaigners declared themselves somewhat delighted with the results. "At least we've removed nearly 300 impaired drivers off the road," Sheriff's Lt. Karl Woolridge pronounced. Critics point out that the checkpoints' apprehension rate is no different than the non-checkpoint apprehension rate– despite costing taxpayers $142k in police overtime and tying-up over two dozen deputies during holiday weekends. In 1995, Arizona legislators pulled the plug on Pima County checkpoints due to this same low arrest rate. Lawmakers reinstated random roadblocks ten years later, when they decided that sobriety checkpoints had a deterrent effect. Good luck proving THAT theory.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
  • FreeMan FreeMan on Aug 27, 2007

    Yes, the check points have a very high deterrent rate - they deter people from driving through the check point area. The check points are always posted in the paper, and announced on the radio. I avoid them even though I quit drinking 8 years ago - they're too much of a pain.

  • Cyclopticgaze Cyclopticgaze on Aug 27, 2007

    These things were such a pain in the rear. And even drunk people are smart enough to take a different route. It's not like they put the blocks on country roads where a driver has to pull a U-ey, which they see and chase down. You see these road blocks a mile off, and there are about 50 side roads to turn into.

  • Edgett Edgett on Aug 27, 2007

    Roadside sobriety checks are about as effective as "Airport Security" - very little actually happens, but people seem to feel some increase in safety as a result. 25 years of airport security checks culminated in 9/11 (where the bad guys obeyed all the rules then in place) and roadside sobriety checks seem to have been equally effective if one believes the latest statistics. Then again, we get to employ more cops and TSA officials...