The arrival of warm weather means the return of drunk-driving season across Northeast Ohio, as partiers slink out of hibernation and into their favorite liquor establishments. It also means the return of another fair-weather fixture: Sobriety checkpoints.
But one area attorney wants to help you keep tabs on Johnny Law’s dragnet plans. Since June, Brian Taubman has run Ohiooviblog.com, a clearinghouse for info on times and locations of weekly sobriety checkpoints.
“The idea is to make it an awareness campaign. It’s all public information,” says Taubman, who shrewdly advertised his services at Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. “What I want to do is put it in a centralized location so the public can find it easier.”
According to state law, police departments must tell the public where checkpoints will be located. That requirement is usually fulfilled simply by e-mailing the whereabouts to local media. Each week, Taubman dutifully calls up 40-50 local departments and asks about their checkpoint plans, which he then shares online.
Initially, some folks weren’t happy dishing the info. “I always tell the cops to check out the blog,” Taubman says. “They do, and they don’t have any problem with it. I’m trying to prevent drunk driving, but also protect people’s rights. The field sobriety and the breathalyzer in this state are incredibly flawed.”
The site fields around 1,000 hits a week, and Taubman hopes to go statewide soon: He’s cobbling together a network of attorneys in Ohio’s other major cities who would track where the police are setting up in their area.