Stupid Grandstanding

So a bunch of Senators want Apple and others to pull an iPhone DUI checkpoint locator.  First, I want to note that these are all Democrat Senators.  I guess harassing a private company is better than doing what they are supposed to be doing, like finding out why the president is going to war without Congressional approval or passing a budget or finding out why the ATF is helping to smuggle guns to the Mexican cartels to murder Americans with.

“Giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern,” the senators said in a letter to the executives at the three companies. “We hope that you will give our request to remove these applications from your store immediate consideration.”

This is really stupid.  The first thing you should know is DUI checkpoints don’t work.  They don’t catch drunk drivers, and they don’t reduce drunk driving.  All they do is harass normal drivers, and give police an excuse to make a lot of overtime money.

DUI checkpoints aren’t about DUI.  They are about revenue.  They give the police an excuse to check everyone’s insurance and registration, run everyone’s names for unpaid tickets, and give all the cops working it a nice chunk of overtime money courtesy of the federal government.

(BTW, am I the only one who notices that cops are always hustling for more money?  Does anyone know a cop who doesn’t moonlight (usually for cash), on top of a salary that starts at $40K and goes up to almost $100K, before you figure in overtime?  And even then, they have constant complaints about bills they have to pay?  Am I the only one slightly disturbed that we give so much deference to people who can’t seem to handle a budget?)

The second thing is, the police themselves publicize the checkpoints.  They get on the news and tell people exactly where they are going to be.  None of this is secret — and even if it was, you would have a 1st Amendment right to tell people anyways.

The third thing is, you can just turn away or around when you see the checkpoint.  It’s not reasonable suspicion to stop you.  (Of course, they’ll find some other reason — or just lie about finding a reason later.)  But, if they do, it’s a good grounds for an attorney to get it thrown out, which means that the guy is going to fight it, which means that the state spends a bunch of money on someone who probably would have gotten caught anyways.

What’s the bottom line on all this?  Because of neo-prohibitionists like MADD, our DUI laws are all jacked up.  We take cops off the streets on patrol where they might actually see someone driving impaired, and put them on checkpoints where they don’t catch any drunks at all.  Then, because our DUI laws are actually working, and arrests are down, MADD and others convince the legislature to lower the legal limit.  Then what happens?  The police can’t catch the people at the lower limit by watching them drive, because they aren’t actually impaired enough for it to show in their driving. Got that?  The “legally drunk” level is so low that the only way to tell that someone is there is to use some sort of chemical measurement.  So what do you do?  You set up a checkpoint so you have an excuse to use those measuring devices on random people, because there is no other way to tell, because it isn’t effecting their driving.

And our police not only don’t see a problem with this, they actually think it is a good idea.  (Or say it is, because of the money.)


  1. […] senators want various app stores to take down apps that alert people to where DUI checkpoints are. Because, you know, that will […]

  2. If I’m going to vote for a nanny I want to vote for Mary Poppins. Other than that, I don’t want one. Thank you.