A fan of Fair DUI in New York’s Capital Region (Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga and more) sent us a video. The video shows the Fair DUI flyer for New York State in action in a State Police checkpoint in the town of Brunswick. Note that in New York State drunk driving is commonly referred to as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and there is a lesser offense called DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired). Drugged driving is called DWAI Drugs.
The Trooper took a brief look at the flyer and just waved the driver through without even asking him to roll down his window. New York is a good state for the Fair DUI flyer. There is no law requiring drivers to hand over their license. All you have to do under NY law is show it through the window. And if you get pulled over for a traffic violation, there is no requirement to sign tickets.
The video consists of two clips. The first clip looks like a handheld camera operated by the driver, possibly a cell phone. The second half is the dashcam. If you look close in the dashcam portion you can see two “Sobriety Checkpoint” signs, one early on the right and one within the checkpoint on the ground on the left.
He reported this took place just outside the city of Troy. Based on our knowledge of the area (Fair DUI founder grew up nearby) we think it was on Route 7, somewhere near the point shown on the map below:
Toward the end of the video you can see the Cap Com credit union sign on the right side.
Here’s a draft of the NY version of the flyer. This is sized as a 6×9 oversized postcard, but is not set up to be mailed as a postcard. When complete, we will mail these on request to NY and Florida residents.
WIVB reports that the campaign director for Bert Dunn for Sheriff was arrested for DWI. Jim Costello allegedly crashed at 3 am. Dunn is cited in the article as saying Costello will remain on the campaign.
Here’s an example of a good prosecutor (who I know) fired for being reasonable on a DWI case. Not only was she fired, but the head DA (who I also know) tried to keep her from receiving pay for her accrued vacation time.
Checkpoints are a common method used by police to address drunk driving. While this approach is popular within MADD circles (see the MADD FAQ on sobriety checkpoints for their perspective), there are some concerns that you may not have heard.
First and foremost, checkpoints infringe on a basic constitutional right. Under the Fourth Amendment, we are supposed to be free from unreasonable search and seizures. The US Supreme Court addressed this in 1990 in the case of Michigan v. Sitz, ruling that checkpoints are permitted. The Court did not go into detail on what the limits are on such checkpoints.
A second concern most don’t consider is the impact of these checkpoints on everyone. In that Michigan case, only 1% of stops led to arrests. That means stopping 100 people for every arrest. Those one hundred people endure flashlights shone in their eyes, and other police behavior that many find intimidating. And of the one percent arrested, there is no indication of how many were innocent.
I remember one checkpoint I encountered was unsafe. The police were on the backside of a hill on a freeway ramp (at the start of the I-87 Northway for traffic coming from Route 20 eastbound). As I was approaching the hill the car in front of me suddenly hit their brakes hard as they became aware of the checkpoint.
Drunk driving is dangerous. But the efforts to stop drunk driving have consequences too.