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Scott McDonald and Associates PLLC

Drivers use Twitter to Avoid DUI Checkpoints

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More and more drivers are using Twitter, text messages, Facebook, and iPhone apps to avoid DUI checkpoints after a night of drinking.  Is this right or wrong?

Although Washington law does not permit DUI checkpoints (yet) like other states, is broadcasting the location of DUI checkpoints or police enforcement locations the proper use of social media?  Police argue against it, saying the purpose of DUI checkpoints is to deter more than catch drunk drivers.  Broadcasting checkpoint locations defeats the deterrent effect.  Those for it argue, that police run ads promoting their use of checkpoints and to not drive drunk, so using Twitter, Facebook, or an iPhone app to broadcast locations of those checkpoints is no different.  

Does this promote drinking primarily among young drivers is one question?  Young people are the first to pick up and use new technology, and they are a large part of the population that may be out drinking and driving at least on weekends.  Driving drunk car lead to serious injuries in a Washington car accident.  In my opinion it does not promote drinking and driving. 

First, all ages use Twitter and Facebook, it's widely accepted as part of our social interaction today.  Second, everyone other person, at least here in Washington state, has an iPhone or smart phone.  You can't stop the march of technology, law enforcement needs to keep up.  Lastly, this is an age old battle made more difficult by technology.  Drinkers have long passed information about the best way to drive home to avoid the cops.  Using a Twitter or Facebook post about the location of the cops is no different, it just has the potential to reach more people.

What's the solution?  Depends upon what you think DUI penalties should be.  I believe we need much harsher penalties for DUI's to actually make a dent in stopping people from drinking and driving.  Drive drunk and your car is seized and sold, while you sit in jail for a month.  Think that may get people to call a cab?  I do.

Drive safe!

Max Meyers, Esq.



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