State po­lice con­duct so­bri­ety check­points

The Taos News - - LOCAL NEWS - By John Miller jmiller@taos­ The Taos News

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.

Stu­art Pal­ley/file photo

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.

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