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Texas MADD’s Roadblock Fetish

Another legislative session brings another request by MADD for DWI roadblocks. The Texas lege has rejected this bad idea for 10 years. Hopes springs eternal for neo prohibitionist zealots. From DMN

“This could be the year,” said Mary Kardell, the executive director of the North Texas branch of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, referring to renewed efforts to legalize sobriety checkpoints… “There is so much outrage right now.”

What is a DWI roadblock?
Normally, the police must have reasonable suspicion to stop your car. That is, they must reasonably believe that you have committed any one of the hundreds of possible traffic infractions before pulling you over. This is an embarrassingly low standard.

Not low enough for MADD. MADD wants to let the police stop all drivers without cause, and then make the drivers prove they are sober and that they have their papers in order. This is MADD’s America, where DWI enforcement trumps freedom. MADD has already taken away your right to counsel, your right to a fair trial, your right to remain silent. MADD is betting you won’t mind giving up another minor constitutional protection.

MADD is selling the promise of safety and only asking for a little freedom in return.

Roadblocks don’t work!

The best reason to oppose police roadblocks is that they do not work. Here is a great quote from

According to MADD’s own website, 40 states have checkpoints and 10 do not. Well, it would be interesting to compare the states with the highest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities with the list of states not using checkpoints: If MADD is correct, the states with the highest fatality rates will be the no-roadblock states. Fortunately, another section of MADD’s website provides such statistics for each of the states. The 5 states with the highest alcohol-related fatality rates:

North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
According to MADD, all 5 states should be non-checkpoint states. In fact, however, 4 of these states use checkpoints; only Rhode Island does not. Well, what about the 5 states with the lowest fatality percentages? They are:

New York
If MADD is correct about the effectiveness of checkpoints, these should all be checkpoint states. But as with the previous list, only 4 of the states permit the use of sobriety checkpoints; Iowa does not. As with the previous list, the percentage is what one would expect from pure random incidence: 20% of the states (10 of 50) do not have checkpoints — and 20% of the states on each list (1 of 5) do not use checkpoints. There appears to be no correlation between fatality rates and the use of checkpoints.

Pulling over every driver for a random search is not law enforcement. It’s police state idiocy to believe that we are safer when the police waste time harassing innocent motorists.

Note to roadblock supporters- If you want to stop DWI then you want the police out looking for drunk drivers!

Finally, roadblocks are always abused by law enforcement. What starts as a limited search for drunk drivers always turns into fishing expeditions for contraband. Another disturbing trend; police often record the information of every motorist stopped. Big brother then compiles a database of who travels in the “wrong” neighborhoods.

MADD comes to Austin every two years selling safety, and asking for freedom. Don’t be afraid to say no to petty tyrants with bad ideas.

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7 responses to “Texas MADD’s Roadblock Fetish”

  1. Mike says:

    Dear Mr. Guest, I was under the impression that for scum bag lawyers, Roadblocks would be an incentive because more DWI arrests means more money right? I guess you guys are not all about the money after all.

    It’s amazing that when I google DWI in Texas, I get more links for Lawyers advertising their services for defense than I get about the crime, sentencing and other tragic stories. No wonder there’s no deterrent for folks from DWI, not as long as there are a ton of scum sucking lawyers willing to defend the offenders.

    When are you guys going to wake up and stop being a bureaucratic jackass and start thinking about innocent people’s lives. Enforcing roadblocks would be a scare tactic and deterrent more than anything else. We need harsher penalties with better scare tactics and less scum bag lawyers offering their services as incentive for people to continue with their criminal behaviour.

    Texas and other states should set Canadian cities such as Vancouver as an example of how to lower their DWI offenses and fatalities, by using harsher sentences and stronger enforcment of the laws. We want to stop the criminals before they can cause more damage, and not just arrest them after they have commited the crime. Running TV ads against drinking and driving would also be a refreshing change. I’m yet to see a single Ad on TV against DWI, yet I continue to see more and more Pharmaceutical company Ads pushing their wonderful new drugs down our throat. What a great country we live in. God Bless Texas.

  2. Ted says:

    So, if I get Mr. Mike right; scary law enforcement is what he likes. I’m not a big fan of scumbags; neither lawyers, police, nor self-righteous dogooders. I am a big fan of the US Constitution, but it doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

  3. jim says:

    Mike appears to be mis- informed and mentally unstable. Mike needs a life. MADD is not helping.

  4. Mike says:

    Jim – if you think I’m mis-informed why don’t you enlighten me with your wisdom instead of just a dumb ass comment like that with no content.

    I can only assume that unlike me (that have no life) you have a life and it involves a bit of drinking and driving once in a while, that’s why you don’t like being stopped.

    Listen folks I’m not a MADD supporter, and I’m not into politics, but I do think DWI is a serious offense and innocent lives have been lost. Doesn’t it make sense that Law enforcement should try to prevent a crime before it occurs. That’s not scary law enforcement; it’s just a stricter and more common sense law enforcement.

    And this has nothing to do with the US constitution and indivdidual rights. If you think it’s your individual right to get behind a car drunk and not get harrassed, then you’re sadly mistaken.

  5. Robert Guest says:

    Thanks for reading. I think our fundamental disagreement would be that you seem to place little value on Constitutional rights (4th, 5th, 6th etc), limited government, freedom etc.

    You would gladly trade your liberty, for a government/MADD promise of security.

    I disagree. We could prevent DWI’s by placing a cop in every car, beating confessions out of suspects, or executing suspecting DWI drivers. It doesn’t mean we should.


  6. Mike, beginning a comment with the ad hominem “scum bag laywers” sends the message that your mind is not so much closed as wired shut with extreme prejudice. You might want to dial back on the puerile insults and actually try to construct an argument if you want any sort of dialogue. As a general rule, people don’t like to participate in discussions with others who begin by insulting them.

  7. RD says:

    I have this to say, I was convicted of DWI at 34 years old. I am 47 now. I had no real concept of the dangers involved in DWI or the seriousness of the law. I came from a small town in Texas and a time when drinking then driving was not as unlawful as it is today. I went through the procedure and learned more about DWI and payed my penalty. It was expensive then and more now. However,
    I have seen the state, county and the cities use the law to there advantage.
    Citing DWI and any little discrepentcy to grow there wealth. Now unfortuntly you are guilty until proven innocent. And you pay a penalty to prove your innocence. My advice to the system is a mandated DWI course for drivers attempting to get a license or renew a license. And mandate laws protecting us from illegal search and seisure. To carry it further make bars provide customers with a disposeable breath test to help awareness before driving. Thanks Robert for your professional stance to protect our rights.