Sobriety checkpoint nabs two drivers near Breck
SUMMIT COUNTY – Officers were surprised, but call it a pleasant surprise: Out of 197 vehicles that passed through a sobriety checkpoint Friday night, only two drivers were charged with driving under the influence.
Officers from around Summit County set up a sobriety checkpoint at mile 91 on State Highway 9 near Tiger Run RV Resort Friday night. The checkpoint started at 11 p.m. and lasted several hours. Officers asked 15 of the 197 drivers to perform roadside sobriety tests. The tests led to one driving under the influence of alcohol charge and one charge of driving under the influence of drugs.
Case law that developed over years of sobriety checkpoints requires police agencies to highly publicize the checkpoint beforehand. Departments also must post a road sign warning drivers of the upcoming checkpoint, and the checkpoint cannot be set up in a place where drivers don’t have the option of avoiding it.
Staff at the Sheriff’s Office said they can’t be sure if drunken drivers avoided the checkpoint or if the message about drinking and driving is sinking in.
“We’re amazed,” said Jill Berman, the public information officer for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. “But it is good news.”
A similar checkpoint last year found no drivers under the influence. A checkpoint two years ago netted several arrests.
Friday’s interdiction effort was part of a statewide campaign in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Education. The DUI Checkpoint Colorado program will conduct a total of 66 sobriety checks throughout the state this summer.
Colorado agencies also will participate in a nationwide program this weekend aimed at rooting out drunken drivers on the Fourth of July. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is sponsoring an $11 million ad campaign and increased enforcement between June 27 and July 13.
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