Saturday, May 23, 2015

Today in "freedom"

I'm no lawyer (unlike the man who created these signs), but it seems to me that the notion of implied consent would render such signs moot.

When anyone drives on a public roadway in any state, the implication is that they consent to the rules of the road, which includes taking a sobriety test if officers have deemed it necessary. DUI checkpoints are often set up during times when police reasonably assume that a large number of drunken drivers might be on the road, such as on weekend nights during big events.

Personally, I have no problem with this. Intoxicated drivers imperil us all, and everyone is aware of the dangers of engaging in drunken driving. I don't find it a victory for "freedom" when people get wind of where a checkpoint might be (though if that information deters someone from driving, it might be useful). 

I also don't see the virtue in not cooperating. I've been through several checkpoints — including one that was set up near my home one night, which I turned just in front of to go to the store, hoping that the officers wouldn't take that as a sign I was avoiding them (I wasn't; I was stone sober and straight from work). All these times, it never occurred to me not to cooperate (then again, I was always sober), and I have a hard time understanding why someone with nothing to hide wouldn't. (Again, we're talking about the public roadways. I might feel differently in other situations.)

So I know checkpoints are a hassle. I know that like with anything law enforcement-related, there is potential for abuse. But all in all, I think checkpoints are an asset.

Traffic can be a dangerous proposition — drinking, gabbing, texting, fatigue, car trouble, general distraction — and the mistakes others make can be life-altering or fatal to themselves and to others. Because of this, I support the fair enforcement of traffic laws. Not abuse, mind you, but neither will I equate "freedom" with the "right" to avoid responsibility.

I hope everyone who shares the road with me feels the same way.

No comments: