On any given weekend night, you can find a sobriety checkpoint in almost any state in the U.S. It seems, though, that most people are finding out about sobriety checkpoints and then choosing to drive a different way home; either because of the time they feel is wasted or perhaps because they’ve been drinking alcohol. Because of the constant use and presence of the Internet in our lives, we’re finding out about sobriety checkpoints much easier than ever and then sharing the details over our smartphones to alert our friends. But, if a sobriety checkpoint is a public safety measure, then, why are we telling our intoxicated friends to drive the other way?
Sobriety checkpoints must be announced to the public, and many law enforcement agencies are using social media websites like Twitter for that purpose. Upon announcing the sobriety checkpoint, the public is considered sufficiently informed and is expected to consent to any testing that happens when being screened by officers at the checkpoint. However, just a quick search on Twitter will show you that as the locations are being discovered they are “re-tweeted” to friends, causing less people to be screened for driving while intoxicated. Law enforcement agencies are noting the same patterns, as fewer people move through the sobriety checkpoints throughout the night, which they believe is because people are alerting friends over the Internet to drive a different way home.
Since sobriety checkpoints have effectively reduced alcohol-related car accidents by 18 – 24%, we all need to consider the dangers of telling our intoxicated friends to drive a different way. In the time it takes to “tweet” the location of a sobriety checkpoint, you could offer your friend a ride home or call a taxi service. Helping him or her beat a DUI, and the potential for an ignition interlock device or other legal consequences only makes you a part of the problem we all face with drunk drivers. Instead of sharing sobriety checkpoint information online, assure the safety of everyone on the road by driving sober and keeping your friends from driving while intoxicated, too.