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Saturation patrols proving more effective than checkpoints

Law enforcement agencies across California and the United States tend to step up their efforts to catch drunk drivers during the holiday season, but some efforts are proving far more effective than others. The OC Register reports that saturation patrols, or those that involve having authorities in specific areas remain on high alert for certain driving behaviors, are not only more economical, but are also better at catching drunk drivers than DUI checkpoints.

The reasons for this are plentiful. For starters, law enforcement officials are specially trained to identify signs of a possible drunken driver, and roving patrols allow them to put these skills to use. The cost of running a saturation patrol is also thousands of dollars less than that of the average DUI checkpoint.

Furthermore, this type of patrolling also lets authorities catch speeders, drivers on their cellphones and others who pose a threat to motorist safety who may not ordinarily be caught by a checkpoint. Finally, handheld technology is also reducing the effectiveness of DUI patrols, with new apps that tell motorists where checkpoints exist and how they can be avoided becoming increasingly available.

Rather than identify drivers who happen to come through a single checkpoint, saturation patrols, per the Centers for Disease and Prevention, occur when multiple law enforcement officials are on the lookout for certain behaviors in the same basic area, and at the same time. When heavily publicized, saturation patrols are especially effective and have been shown to reduce risky driving behaviors by heightening the public’s awareness of potential arrest. 

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