Atlanta, Georgia DUI Roadblocks

Hena Daniels: Halloween weekend is a peak time for cops to crack down on drinking and driving.

Stephany Fisher: Compared to other states, Georgia has one of the highest number of roadblocks set up to catch drunk drivers. CBS Atlanta’s Sonja Moghe joins us here in the studio with more on the debate about the effectiveness of these roadblocks.

Sonia Moghe: Well the State of Georgia set up about 20,000 of these roadblocks last year alone, but critics say they’re not effective at taking dangerous drivers off of the roads. One of those roadblocks often gets set up here, at Pharr Road at Pharr Court in Buckhead. Authorities said drivers think they can fly under the radar by cutting through here, because there are mostly apartments and condos nearby.

Harris Blackwood: (Governor’s Office of Highway Safety): We do them almost every weekend in multiple locations and they’ll be a number of them this weekend.

Moghe: The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety says that last year alone, there were 19,795 roadblocks in the State of Georgia. Atlanta DUI Attorney William Head says that is much higher than most states.

William C. Head: California is four times as large as Georgia and Georgia had a 50% greater number of roadblocks than the State of California.

Moghe: Police made nearly 40,000 DUI arrests in Georgia last year, and Head fought dozens of them. He says roadblocks are easier to fight in court because there is usually no evidence of irregular driving.

Head: A regular DUI case usually requires some type of bad driving. At a roadblock, you have no bad driving.

Moghe: While these roadblocks may catch people with alcohol in their blood systems, Head thinks law enforcement could better use these officers on the roads, looking for dangerous driving.

Head: If you had 20 officers out canvassing the city, looking for traffic offenses, you’re going to find you get more people that way and you actually get a traffic offense that they committed

Moghe: The number of DUI arrests has actually gone down significantly in the past few years, but DUI Attorney Head doesn’t think that’s because people are drinking and less; he thinks it’s because there are less cops around to catch them. In the studio, I’m Sonia Moghe. CBS Atlanta News.

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