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BlackBerry apps spotlight sobriety checkpoints

Four U.S. senators have worked to restrict the use of downloadable phone apps that alert drivers to DUI checkpoints

By Larry Copeland

WASHINGTON, DC — The attempt this week by four U.S. senators to restrict the use of downloadable applications that alert drivers to the locations of sobriety checkpoints is spotlighting an effective but controversial tool in the fight against drunken driving.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that checkpoints reduce alcohol-related crashes, and the Supreme Court has ruled that they are constitutional. But 12 states do not allow them; in most of those states, it's because their state constitution forbids them.

Checkpoints generally net relatively few drunken-driving arrests, but police and other experts say they have deterrent and educational value.

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