San Bruno DUI Checkpoint

The San Mateo Daily Journal reports that the San Bruno Police Department will be setting up a sobriety checkpoint Friday night, September 25, 2009, near the intersection of El Camino Real and San Bruno Avenue. It will be in place from 7:00PM until midnight.

I wonder how this checkpoint will work. It’s hard to imagine the police completely shutting down El Camino Real, but I’ve seen these checkpoints on some pretty busy roads so I suppose it is possible.

It can be an inconvenience to drivers to be sure, but of course this is one of those cases where the potential gain of removing menaces from the roads is arguably worth the inconvenience to the law-abiding. Having to take off your shoes at the airport on the other hand, not so much.

For a second I wondered if it was ethical for me to blog about this checkpoint. Am I not aiding and abetting the drunken drivers by giving them this heads up? Then I realized that this was probably not some muckraking scoop by the Daily Journal, but rather an intentional press release from the police themselves. Why would they warn the bad guys? Simple: they’re not trying to catch the drunk drivers, they’re trying to deter them. They probably figure the ones who drive drunk anyway will forget about the checkpoint and be safely snared, whereas those who know ahead of time will either stay legal or find alternative rides home.

This publicity-centric approach is confirmed by MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in a recent blog posting in which they applaud people for using Twitter to spread the word about checkpoints. Here’s a tip though; if you’re stuck behind the wheel in a backed-up checkpoint, don’t whip out your cell phone and start tweeting or texting or emailing your buddies about it. It’s against the law, even if you’re stopped at a red light. You’re still driving, even if you’re not moving. It’s a California kōan. And, well, the cops are right there.

So if you’re up on the peninsula this weekend be prepared for a little delay. And if you’re planning to drive under the influence, be prepared for a really really really long delay. Better yet, don’t drive drunk.

California Avoid

[Source: San Mateo Daily Journal]

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