Police Prepare for Holiday Weekend with DUI Checkpoints, But Does Twitter Aid Drunk Drivers?

With Labor Day and its massive traffic coming up this weekend, Los Angeles police officers are gearing up to set up their DUI and driver's license checkpoints at busy intersections.

The checkpoints are conducted to reduce alcohol-related accidents and to spot those who are driving under the influence. However, with new Twitter accounts like @DUICheckpoint, @CheckpointsDUI and @MrCheckpoint, drivers can read alerts to prevent themselves from getting caught but also avoid the delays from the traffic jam.

Although this is an advantage to L.A. drivers, will these Twitter alerts help decrease DUIs or will this make DUI offenders drive another way?

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According to Alhambra Police Officer Fukumoto, DUI checkpoints are made public a few days before so Twitter is not a problem for law enforcement agencies.

"The checkpoint is to prevent people from driving drunk, not to get them in trouble," said Fukumoto. "If you aren't driving drunk, it's not a problem."

During Labor Day weekend--since officers know that people like to drink on holiday weekends--police departments will be more on the alert, and there will be more checkpoints set up in the Los Angeles area.

"Not everyone reads these Twitter sites or blogs, and checkpoints really help keep the road safe," said Fukumoto.

With only a few thousand followers on each of these checkpoint accounts, most people have not caught on to the DUI checkpoint Twitter trend.

"I just saw a checkpoint on La Cienega and Melrose a couple weeks ago," said Darren Blatt, a resident of Los Angeles. "I follow those Twitter sites to avoid the traffic, but I do know people that use the apps on the iPhone or going on Twitter to check for checkpoints to avoid getting a ticket."

If you are getting on the road this weekend, make sure to have a designated driver and be prepared to drive in traffic, and be safe.

Arika Sato is a graduate student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which has partnered with KCET-TV to produce this blog about policy in Los Angeles.

The photo used on this post is by Flickr user mike fischer. It was used under a Creative Commons License.

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