A Couple Things You Probably Didn’t Know About DWI Traffic Stops

Dwi traffic stop

The purpose of DWI traffic stops is pretty simple, as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court: these checkpoints help law enforcement officials identify and arrest people who are driving while intoxicated. Because data has shown these checkpoints to be effective at reducing the number of car accidents caused by drunk driving, you’re likely to encounter a DWI traffic stop at least once in your life.

The thing is, like other traffic laws and drunk driving laws, the legality of DWI checkpoints is determined by each state’s government, and therefore not every state allows police officers to set up these checkpoints. More than anything else, this causes a lot of confusion for drivers who aren’t knowledgeable about these stops. So, here are a couple tiny — but extremely important — details about DWI traffic stops that you probably don’t know, but you definitely should know:

The mere surprise of coming upon a traffic stop is enough to make any driver edgy and nervous, and unfortunately this usually ends up hurting the driver more than anyone else. For this reason, federal law requires that police stations announce in advance the date, time, and place that they will be setting up a traffic stop. This is to ensure that cops aren’t setting up sudden traps, and also to give drivers a warning of what to expect.

Although police officers don’t have to have a reason for stopping individual cars passing through a checkpoint, they do have to have a valid reason for setting up the traffic stop to begin with, and they have to abide by a plan for stopping cars (such as every third car that passes by). Most often, police stations will use DWI statistics involving crashes in certain areas, or any past data showing that they’ll likely encounter people driving while intoxicated at that specific place and time.

Now we’re turning the conversation over to you — do you have any bits of knowledge about these traffic stops that most people don’t know? Be sure to share with us down in the comments section! Learn more about this topic here.

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