TAYLOR COUNTY—Summer means fun times in the sunshine for many folks that includes travel, and in an effort to ensure the safety of individuals on the roadways, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department will be holding DUI/Safety Checkpoints in the upcoming weeks.
According to Chief Deputy Randy Durrett, the first of the series of check points is slated to take place on Saturday, July 16, from 9:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.
“We will once again be set up on U.S. Route 50 West, just west of the Taylor County Emergency Squad,” he reported.
When holding a checkpoint, departments must notify drivers of alternate routes of travel, and Durrett shared that those wishing to not participate in the event may take Pruntytown Pike/Old Route 50 West.
The road intersects with U.S. Route 50 just east of Toothman Ford and near the intersection with Riverside Drive, near the bridge in Fetterman.
During the checkpoint, officers will be checking to make sure that motorists are wearing their seatbelts, are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that they are following other laws and regulations that drivers must adhere to.
They will also be requesting a driver’s information, such as driver’s license and proof of vehicle insurance. They will also be checking to make sure that the vehicle’s registration is current and legal.
“When you know there’s going to be a checkpoint in the area of travel, go ahead and have your license, registration and insurance card ready to go,” Durrett commented. “It’s always a good idea to keep your registration and insurance card together in a location in the vehicle, by themselves.”
He also shared that he’s noticed that drivers will keep old, outdated insurance cards or past registration cards in their vehicles.
“Just keep the current information. You don’t need the old ones, so just go ahead and toss them,” he urged. “It will help keep things moving during a checkpoint. All drivers who come through the checkpoint should be ready to provide that information. If they fail to do so, it could result in a citation.”
Often times, individuals question why departments must announce their checkpoints, and the answer is very simple; to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens.
The amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
By announcing and publicizing the upcoming checkpoints, the departments are adhering to the law, and are ensuring that they are upholding the United States Constitution.
Before a search can be conducted, an officer must first have probable cause, meaning there must be indication that illegal practices are taking place in the vehicle at the time of the stop.
If anyone has any questions about the upcoming DUI/Safety Check, they may contact the sheriff’s department by phone at 304-265-3428.