Checkpoints are locations which, after approval from a judge and a public posting of the time and place, are set up to stop drivers on a road and check for signs of driving under the influence. Most drivers will be allowed to pass, after a brief exchange with the officers, and will be on their way in only minutes.
But for some, on April 8th, 2011, their whole night ended in an unexpected way, with a detour to the local jail. A checkpoint was set up between the Wasatch Front and Little Sahara Sand Dunes for Easter weekend. It was anticipated that there would be many who would celebrate too freely, before hitting the road, on this popular holiday.
The officers who participated were surprised at how many drivers they caught who failed the breathalyzer test. Hundreds were stopped and briefly questioned. If there were any suspicious smells or behaviors, the officers would ask them to pull over to the side, so they could check into it further.
While some failed the breathalyzer, others couldn’t manage the field sobriety test. Drug-sniffing dogs were on hand for the suspicion of drugs other than alcohol. Some teenagers were relieved of some alcohol they had with them.
Overall, the checkpoint managed to remove some unsafe drivers from the road, while increasing the confidence of non-drinking drivers that the DUI situation is still being monitored and that the state of Utah takes DUIs seriously enough to go through all the legal red tape and the juggling of personnel to run a checkpoint and enforce the DUI laws.