Do drunk driving roadblocks enhance traffic safety and save lives? This is a question that people have been asking for many years. Here in the Garden State, criticism of sobriety checkpoints runs the gamut; from those who believe DWI and DUI roadblocks are highly effective in keeping intoxicated drivers off public roads to those who feel drunken driving checkpoints are a waste of taxpayer money and should be eliminated.
From our standpoint as New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we can see both sides of the argument. But one thing is certain, drivers in Monmouth, Ocean and Sussex County continue to be arrested and ticketed for driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription medication and illicit drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine. Over in Bergen County the Elmwood Park police reported nine arrests during a recent DWI checkpoint; officers also issued 70 other individuals summonses for various other traffic offenses.
According to news reports, the mid-March drunk driving roadblock set up by local authorities ran from 11:30pm on a Friday night until 3:30am the next morning. The location of the checkpoint was along a stretch of westbound Rte46. Eight of those arrested were charged with driving under the influence; the remaining arrestee was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).
This particular checkpoint is one of a string of DWI roadblocks that have been a relative fixture in that part of the county; based on news reports, the police have been operating roadblocks nearly weekly for the past several years.
Some of the arrests included a 26-year-old Passaic man; a 22-year-old driver from Clifton, NJ; and a 32-year-old out-of-state driver, all charged with DWI. A 22-year-old driver was also stopped by officers at the sobriety checkpoint and found to be in possession of a CDS. That individual, a resident of Newark, was arrested by police as well.
Another motorist from out-of-state was charged with drunk driving, while three additional New Jersey residents were also arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Those three included a 23-year-old Patterson man, a 49-year-old Clifton resident, and a 31-year-old Bloomfield, NJ, driver were all charged with DWI.
Police checkpoint results in nine arrests, 70 summonses, NorthJersey.com, April 1, 2011