According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the July 4th Holiday is one of the deadliest travel days in the country. The reason given is that many accidents are caused by drunk driving after people have indulged in celebrations that included alcoholic beverages. In an effort to prevent these types of accidents, Tennessee — as well as several other states — has been holding some controversial DUI checkpoints.
The checkpoints are called ‘no-refusal’ checkpoints because every suspected intoxicated driver must agree to a breath test. If they do not acquiesce, then they are subjected to a mandatory blood test at the scene. In most situations, police would be required to apply for a search warrant in order to compel a driver to obey the order for blood work. However, for these particular traffic stops, the judge is on-call in order to approve the test on the spot.
Drivers who are ordered to submit have been strapped to a gurney while a field nurse draws the driver’s blood for testing. As can be expected, many have opposed this type of forced compliance as it seems to violate the constitutional right to be free from certain searches and seizures, in this case, bodily fluids. In addition, some critics have vehemently protested the collecting of evidence before any arrest or charges have been filed.
While the goal of preventing serious or even fatal accidents is commendable, the violation of a driver’s Fourth Amendment should not be treated lightly. Every Tennessee resident is entitled to the protections that have been built into their constitutional Bill of Rights. Any driver who has been accused of drunk driving and subjected to this forcible collection of blood or other similar possible violation is ensured the right to due process and to challenge the evidence. Furthermore, they may also employ their right to confront their accusers in a court of law.
Source: autos.aol.com, “‘No-Refusal’ DUI Checkpoints Deployed To Combat Holiday Drunk Driving“, , July 2, 2014