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Bar patrons say checkpoints keep drinking in check
Closeup on sobriety checkpoints in New Hampshire
MANCHESTER — For some bar patrons, the prospect of having a drink or two before driving through a sobriety checkpoint is a frightening thought.
“It's not worth it to lose your license over a couple of beers,” said Mike Gaffney of Manchester, who was having a soda, not a beer, while at lunch Saturday at J.W. Hill's on Elm Street.
Police officers who support sobriety checkpoints say that, even if they don't result in a lot of arrests, they act as a deterrent. Wanda Bernard of Manchester, said she agreed.
“I think (checkpoints) are wonderful,” said Bernard, who was enjoying a drink with friends at McGarvey's on Elm Street. She said she often offers to pay for a cab ride for “younger” bar patrons who have had too much to drink.
Some police officers said that because checkpoints have to be publicized — online or through other mediums — people know to avoid them, a sentiment echoed by Gaffney, Bernard and Sarah James of Manchester, who was with Bernard at McGarvey's. Gaffney, Bernard and James each said they will look to see whether a checkpoint is being publicized.
“I purposely won't go out if I know they're there,” James said. “I think it's a good deterrent.”
Gaffney said he doesn't frequently go out — “about three or four times in the summer” — but said he would alter his plans if he knows a checkpoint is happening, either by not drinking or by catching a ride home from a sober driver.
“I think it's good because they do catch drunk drivers,” he said.
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