No one will suggest that driving while intoxicated is anything less than a serious danger to other individuals on Indiana’s roadways. However, what is often questioned within legal defense circles are the methods used to deter drunk driving.
All too frequently court ordered sanctions to deal with the perception of drunk drivers ravaging our streets and highways has lead to many draconian strategies in dealing with such perceived dangers.
Depending upon the motives of a politically elected prosecuting attorney, intoxication checkpoints, ignition interlock machinery attached to motor vehicles, and alcohol monitoring apparatus in various forms and costs to those monitored have often come and gone. With the goal of convincing potential voters that drunk driving is being punished by the use of such devices or methods, an elected prosecutor may unwittingly grow dependent upon the self interest of private industry capable of funding campaign contributions. In so doing, many local communities faced with growing expenditures have begun to question just who stands to benefit most by increased efforts to combat and publicize the potential dangers drunk driving.
The proliferation of private incarceration facilities nationwide and those companies making a profit over the punitive offerings of alcohol measuring tools in all forms, whether within the home, work or in automobiles, are a real potential danger that should not be ignored. The self interest of private companies to continue to profit from alarming the public as to the dangers of drunk driving must always be considered before expending tax dollars as to public safety issues that may not exist to the levels the public has been conditioned to accept.
As the new and emerging power brokers as to the means by which our justice system punishes dui offenses, both private industry and the prosecutors they can potentially support must be monitored closely. Thankfully, the proliferation of these units imposed through court orders has been somewhat curtailed by experienced owi lawyers in showcasing frequent malfunctioning and associated maintenance costs.
Similarly, intoxication checkpoints often fall in disfavor by the actions of newly elected county prosecutors or public officials needlessly imposing their will on the law abiding public. More often than not, the expenditure of countless tax dollars toward police overtime and economic hardship to the driving public fueled by the cheerleading of private industry is serving little other than the prosecutor’s individual campaign interests of attempting to be tough on crime.
I believe it not happenstance that random sobriety checkpoints are no longer in vogue within our communities. In my opinion, this is so because the realization has dawned on most people that although drunk driving is an inexcusable danger to drivers, the real public dangers of such activity is not significant enough to justify both the cost and traffic nightmares imposed upon the general public through the arbitrary whims of county prosecutors deciding when and where to impose sobriety checkpoints on the law abiding public.
No sooner should a police state be constructed to monitor texting and driving (what I believe to be a far more real and common danger posed to the driving public) is the public willing to blindly continue to accept that their individual liberties be curtailed for a drunk driving danger they do not readily accept.
In the wake of our public’s general willingness to sacrifice individual liberties at airports to address the dangers of terrorism (if done in a rational way which is another issue entirely), the reduction of sobriety checkpoints on our streets and highways is an encouraging sign that our citizens need to embrace a true public danger before willingly remaining silent as to a further reduction of our civil liberties.