In a ritual nearly as familiar as Santa Claus and crowded stores, Valley police agencies have again stepped up enforcement of drunken-driving laws this holiday season.
Backed by state grants, police are setting up more sobriety checkpoints and putting more officers on the street -- not only to catch intoxicated drivers but also to educate the public. Studies have found sobriety checkpoints reduce alcohol-related crashes because they create awareness about the risk of arrest.
But some public-safety officials say that message might be lost on the group most at risk -- young drivers. Trying to elude arrest for drunken driving, young people use technology to keep each other informed about the location of sobriety checkpoints, said Sgt. Dave Gibeault, head of the Fresno Police Department's traffic unit.
Tools include Twitter, text messages and an iPhone application specifically designed to identify checkpoints, Gibeault said.
His own daughter often sends him text messages about where she's heard he's running checkpoints.
But changing the checkpoints can be a problem, Gibeault said. Police can't easily move them once their location has been broadcast, because of legal requirements and the large number of officers and equipment involved, he said.
Here are a few tweets regarding checkpoints. Let me be clear you either have to follow these folks on Twitter to get these tweets or you have to set up a search in twitter to alert you when a tweet with this subject matter occurs.