Reducing Alcohol-impaired Driving: Publicized Sobriety Checkpoint Programs
Task Force Finding
Read the full Task Force Finding and Rationale Statement for details including implementation issues, possible added benefits, potential harms, and evidence gaps.
Publicized sobriety checkpoint programs are a form of high visibility enforcement where law enforcement officers systematically stop drivers to assess their degree of alcohol impairment. Media efforts to publicize the enforcement activity are an integral part of these programs. The program goal is to reduce alcohol-impaired driving by increasing the public's perceived risk of arrest while also arresting alcohol-impaired drivers identified at checkpoints.
There are two types of sobriety checkpoints:
- Random Breath Testing (RBT) - all stopped drivers are given breath tests for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. RBT is used in Australia and several European countries.
- Selective Breath Testing (SBT) - police must have reason to suspect that a stopped driver is intoxicated before a breath test can be requested. SBT is used in the United States.
About the Systematic Review
The Task Force finding presented on this page was made in August 2012. It is based on evidence from a Community Guide systematic review published in 2001 (Shults et al., search period January 1980 - June 2000) combined with more recent evidence (search period July 2000 - March 2012). The review was conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to reducing alcohol-impaired driving.
Read a summary of findings from the earlier review or visit the Motor Vehicle-Related Injury Prevention section of our publications page to access the complete articles. You can also subscribe to be notified as new materials on this topic become available.
Full peer-reviewed articles of this systematic review will be posted on the Community Guide website when published. Subscribe to be notified when we post these publications or other materials. See our library for previous Community Guide publications on this and other topics.
Shults RA, Elder RW, Sleet DA, et al. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. [PDF - 2.29 MB] Am J Prev Med 2001;21(4S):66–88.
The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.
The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing alcohol-impaired driving: publicized sobriety checkpoint programs (abbreviated). www.thecommunityguide.org/mvoi/AID/sobrietyckpts.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.
Review completed: August 2012
- Page last reviewed: December 9, 2013
- Page last updated: December 9, 2013
- Content source: The Guide to Community Preventive Services