Low-manpower checkpoints: can they provide effective DUI enforcement in small communities?

Traffic Inj Prev. 2006 Sep;7(3):213-8. doi: 10.1080/15389580600696686.


Objective: Sobriety checkpoints can be effective in reducing alcohol-impaired driving. Checkpoints are underutilized, however, partially because police believe a large number of officers are required. This study evaluated the feasibility and impact of conducting small-scale checkpoints in rural communities.

Methods: Law enforcement agencies in two counties agreed to conduct weekly checkpoints for one year. Two nonadjacent counties did not undertake additional checkpoints. Evaluation included public-awareness surveys and roadside surveys (including blood alcohol concentration [BAC] measurements) of weekend nighttime drivers.

Results: Relative to drivers in the comparison counties, the proportion of drivers in the experimental counties with BACs >0.05% was 70% lower. Drivers surveyed at driver's license offices in the experimental counties after program implementation were more likely to report seeing or passing through a checkpoint and were more aware of publicity on driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement.

Conclusions: Small rural communities can safely and effectively conduct low-staff sobriety checkpoints on a weekly basis. Such programs can be expected to result in large reductions in drivers operating at higher BACs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood
  • Alcohol Drinking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / blood
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / diagnosis*
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / blood
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Local Government
  • Logistic Models
  • Program Evaluation
  • Rural Population*
  • West Virginia


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol