Sobriety checkpoints or roadblocks involve law enforcement officials stopping every vehicle (or more typically, every n
th vehicle) on a public roadway and investigating the possibility that the driver might be too impaired to drive
due to alcohol
consumption. They are often set up late at night or in the very early morning hours and on weekends, and on holidays associated with parties (e.g., New Year's Eve
) at which time the proportion of impaired drivers tends to be the highest. Checkpoints are also often set near the exit points of public events where people have been drinking to prevent large numbers of drunk drivers from being released into traffic simultaneously from the event. A roadblock stop is quick action spot for police as well as security personnel.
With a portable and quick Breathalyzer
test, the police can test all drivers (if the law permits) for their breath alcohol content (BrAC), and process the cars one by one as if in a conveyor belt. If a police force does not have these testing devices, a more complicated routine is necessary. Upon suspicion that the driver has consumed alcohol, due to the officer noting the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, or other signs, the stopped driver is required to exit the vehicle and asked to take a series of roadside field sobriety tests (FSTs or SFSTs)
. These tests help the officer to determine whether the person's physical and/or mental skills are impaired. If the officer determines based on his/her observations during the tests that the driver is impaired and has probable cause
to arrest the person for suspicion of driving under the influence, the arrestee will be asked to take an alcohol breath test or a blood test. It is important to note that the driver cannot "pass" or "fail" a field sobriety test as they are not "pass-or-fail", they are only meant to aid the officer in determining if a suspect is impaired based on observations of the subject's performance on these tests. There are various guidelines are presented by the various states (US) as well as International rules for these type Sobriety Checkpoints or DUI. For example, in the U.S. Field sobriety tests (FSTs or SFSTs)
are voluntary. Read more...