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Checkpoints aim to curb drunk driving accidents

Every year, too many people lose their lives or suffer serious injuries on West Virginia's roads. Data from the West Virginia Department of Transportation shows that in 2014, a total of 272 people died as a result of motor vehicle accidents. Through July 15 of this year, 131 people have died on the state's roadways. Like many other states in the country, authorities in West Virginia try to do what they can to help cut down on these accidents.

Law enforcement officers and lawmakers try to target and prevent many different forms of negligence on the roads, including drunk driving. One method that police use to curb drunk driving is sobriety checkpoints.

A sobriety checkpoint is an area where officers set up a roadblock and check drivers to see whether they are intoxicated. Under federal and West Virginia law, these checkpoints are legal, and law enforcement use them on a frequent basis to deter people from drinking and driving. Checkpoints are one of the tools that authorities have in their arsenal to try to stop drunk driving accidents.

In West Virginia, a person is legally intoxicated, for purposes of driving, if his or her blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher. However, people can still be impaired and legally unable to drive, even if their blood alcohol concentration is below that threshold.

In addition to possible criminal penalties, people who choose to drink and drive could face civil liability from any damages that they cause if they are involved in a car accident. Despite public service announcements, sobriety checkpoints and other forms of public pressure, some people still disregard the possible life-changing consequences of drinking and driving. If a driver harms another person because of his or her foolish choice to drive while intoxicated, the injured victims should consider holding that person accountable through the legal system.

Source: Governor's Highway Safety Association, "Sobriety Checkpoint Laws," Accessed on Aug. 3, 2015

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