Equipment defects or vehicle safety problems sometimes provide the basis for an officer to pull you over. Here are the top 12 equipment defects that police are on the lookout for:
1) tires with insufficient tread;
2) damaged, “starburst” or cracked windshield;
3) outside mirror or other required equipment missing (e.g., fender or bumper);
4) window tint too dark, vehicle glass in violation of state law;
5) someone in vehicle not wearing seatbelt;
6) tag not mounted in proper place, possibly in back window;
7) dim or inoperable tail (brake, running) lights;
8) excessive smoke coming from under the vehicle;
9) passenger hanging out window or gesturing to other motorists;
10) honking horn inappropriately at night in residential area;
11) improper dealer tag or “drive-out” tag on vehicle; and
12) loud muffler or tail pipe extension (Glass Pack).
These correctable items (which likely would never merit a pullover during morning rush hour) have led to many late night traffic stops that ultimately resulted in DUI-DWI arrests. Remember, the officer only needs a single REASON for coming in contact with you and your vehicle. His or her REAL purpose in stopping you is to see if you are impaired or have other smells, visible or audible evidence of possible impairment.
If this sounds “unconstitutional” to you, it does NOT sound unconstitutional to the United States Supreme Court! In 1996, the high court UNANIMOUSLY approved of this type of tactic by police in a landmark decision that drastically reduced our legal and privacy rights as Americans. Subsequent cases from our high court have further whittled away at the few remaining rights we have while driving our vehicles in 21st Century America.
Avoiding a DUI Roadblock
Just like spiders looking for flies, DUI-DWI Task Force officers in major metropolitan cities set up their roadblocks where they are aware their “prey” is located. Therefore, they set up roadblocks at locations along major thoroughfares that have high numbers of restaurants and bars that lead to interstate highways and similar traffic arteries.
The federal government will not allow roadblocks on interstate highways for a variety of reasons, starting with safety concerns. Hence, getting to the interstate for purposes of avoiding a roadblock is one basic strategy to avoid a roadblock.
However, the police know that most traffic will seek access to an interstate to travel home. Hence, the police will try to set up their sobriety checkpoints along one of these “feeder” roadways. Knowing or guessing which roadway has the roadblock set up is the gamble. The teams of sobriety checkpoint officers decide when and where they will establish the checkpoint and then converge at an appointed hour to block traffic on that street. Having the ability to allow cars to pull over to the shoulder or adjacent parking lots is a key safety concern of police at these roadblocks.