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Sobriety Checkpoints Remove Drunk Drivers from Kansas Roadways


April 4, 2000 (Release 00-059)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News Contact: Rosalie Thornburgh,
Bureau of Traffic Safety, (785) 296-3756

Sobriety Checkpoints Remove Drunk Drivers from Kansas Roadways

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and local communities are teaming up to get drunk drivers off Kansas highways through the 2000 Sobriety Checkpoint Program. "Drunk driving is an important highway safety issue and Kansas has made significant strides in reducing the number of deaths and injuries resulting from alcohol-related crashes," said Secretary E. Dean Carlson. "Sobriety checkpoints have made an important contribution to the effort of removing drunk drivers from our street and highways."

Seven local communities will check drivers to make sure they are not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in a concentrated effort which began in March and culminates in September. Checkpoints are conducted in other locations throughout Kansas year-round.

The seven communities receiving financial support from KDOT to conduct checkpoints include the cities of Bonner Springs and Shawnee and the counties of Miami, Brown, Reno, Riley and Barton. These communities are supported in their efforts by the services of the Kansas Highway Patrol, Breath Alcohol Unit (BAU).

The BAU provides manpower, breath testing equipment and expertise in conducting successful sobriety checkpoints.

Sobriety checkpoints involve stopping all drivers at a given location on Friday, Saturday or holiday nights between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Typically drivers are detained for only a few minutes as they drive through a sobriety checkpoint.

Public information and education also is used to enhance the program by notifying citizens in advance of the checkpoints and publicizing the activity and DUI arrests after the event. Heightened public awareness is an important tool in deterring drunk driving.

Last year in Kansas, 116 checkpoints were coordinated by the BAU covering 78 percent of the state's population with local agencies conducting 60 checkpoints. The combined efforts of KHP and local law enforcement resulted in 278 DUI arrests.