State police conduct sobriety checkpoints
New Mexico State Police will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and increasing patrols throughout the state in October.
If a driver encounters a checkpoint, they may be stopped and questioned by officers, with or without cause. During a stop, officers typically check for registration, insurance and licenses, all while assessing whether a driver might be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Failure to cooperate at a checkpoint can lead to serious consequences.
In a widely publicized example this year, New Mexico lawmaker Monica Youngblood was charged with aggravated DWI in May when she refused to submit to a blood test to determine whether her alcohol levels exceeded the legal limit. She was convicted of the charge late last month.
Checkpoints and “saturation patrols,” as the agency calls them, were also conducted in June, July, August and September, making October the fifth consecutive month state police will orchestrate the statewide operation, which is advertised as a means to combat drunk driving and related traffic accidents.
“We are bringing awareness to these events in an effort to reduce alcohol-related fatalities through continued media attention and intensive advertising,” reads the October announcement. “These checkpoints are helping to change society’s attitude about drinking and driving.”
Drunk driving caused nearly half of the 380 car accident deaths in 2017, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
While the rate of accidents related to drunk driving in New Mexico has declined significantly since the 1990s, numbers in recent years continue to exceed national averages.
New Mexico State Police conduct a 100 Days of Summer DWI checkpoint in front of the SMU-In-Taos Campus on State Road 518 in a prior year.