Determine the Effectiveness of Flexible Checkpoints

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) strongly promotes the use of sobriety checkpoints as a general deterrence approach to decreasing impaired driving trips. The critical issue regarding the effectiveness of checkpoints is their visibility – that is, making the driving public aware of them, and thus deterring potential drinking and driving trips. The number of driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests made at a checkpoint is less important than awareness. While the project team wants to detect impaired drivers and remove them from the road, they will have much stronger results if we deter the impaired drivers from getting on the road in the first place. The “general deterrence” theory, however, can be a hard sell to many law enforcement agencies. Although they may understand the rationale of deterring the drinking driving trips before they begin, the reality for many agencies is that they are strapped for resources and believe that sobriety checkpoints require too much effort. Two new checkpoint approaches have been implemented in various jurisdictions across the country that aim at achieving high visibility without using a large amount of resources: low-staff checkpoints and flexible checkpoints. The objectives of this project are to determine the extent that flexible checkpoints are being used across the country, to document problems or concerns that arise when using flexible checkpoints and any possible solutions that could be shared, and to evaluate the effectiveness of flexible checkpoints. For the evaluation, the project team will go to one site, implement a flexible checkpoint program and compare the results to either the same site prior to implementation or to a comparison site.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • See "Determining the Effectiveness of Flexible Checkpoints" (DOT HS 812 420, May 2017).


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $203663
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Smither, Dereece

  • Performing Organizations:

    Bedford Research

    11 Davis Road
    Bedford, MA  United States  01730

    Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

    11720 Beltsville Drive, Ste 900
    Calverton, MD  United States  20705-3111
  • Start Date: 20050812
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170500
  • USDOT Program: Behavioral Safety Research
  • Subprogram: Alcohol Impaired Driving

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01641797
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH22-05-D-25-043
  • Files: RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 25 2017 11:24AM