Sampson Independent

Checkpoints’ gain worth the pain

For law-abiding citizens, traffic checkpoints like the massive one set up last Sunday can be a real hindrance, but the number of charges leveled by local law enforcement officers and the offenses racked up are worth the time one has to sit in those long lines.

The gain,in other words, is worth the pain.

Statistics released by the Clinton Police Department, which spearheaded the Sunday sobriety stop that brought 26 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies together for the effort, are as impressive as they are scary.

• 177 total charges leveled

• 42 no operator licenses offenses

• 13 driving while license revoked offenses

• 6 misdemeanor drug violations

• 1 apprehended fugitive

• 1 felony drug violation

• 1 driving while impaired violation

• 2 under 21 operators in possession of alcohol

• 3 open container violations

• 103 other traffic violations

All are serious offenses and most, if not all, would have gone undetected had law enforcement not pulled together to hold the 4 1/2 hour checkpoint, held along U.S. 421’s northbound lanes near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Think about it for a minute. Of the plethora of charges leveled, there were 42 people traveling Sampson roads without having the appropriate license to do so. There were another 13 who were driving even though the courts had revoked their license and, of course, there were some who either had alcohol in their possession or had consumed enough to be considered a drunk driver.

And that, really, just scratches the surface of the offenses officers found as they checked hundreds of cars traveling through Sampson County Sunday afternoon.

What’s more, a similar stop less than two months before racked up an additional 146, showing the increasing number of individuals who live or travel through our county that do so while breaking one or more laws.

We applaud law enforcement officers for their combined efforts to make such stops a reality, as worrisome as they may often be to citizens who do their best to adhere to the laws of the land.

And we tip our hat, too, to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, a part of the NC Department of Transportation, which helps to make such sobriety checks possible.

An article in Wednesday’s Sampson Independent noted that the GHSP’s mission is to promote highway safety awareness in an effort to reduce the number of traffic crashes and fatalities in the state through the planning and execution of safety programs.

Among those programs are Click It or Ticket and Booze It & Lose It, campaigns which hone in on traffic violators, particularly those who refuse to buckle up or let someone else drive when they’ve had too much alcohol.

Sunday’s checkpoint is another clear example of how the GHSP works with the assistance of diligent law enforcement officers to make our roads as safe as possible.

When we’re in those long checkpoint lines, drumming our fingers, frustrated to no end, that’s what we need to remember.