Authorities hope checkpoints deter drunk drivers from getting behind wheel

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AKRON, Ohio-- Area law enforcement officers have reason this weekend to be running DUI checkpoints and extra patrols.

The Thanksgiving weekend has become one of the biggest weekends of the year for drinking.

The I-Team checked with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. We found in some recent years more drunken driving cases around Thanksgiving than around Christmas, New Year’s or even St. Patrick’s Day.

Meantime, we looked at results for recent Summit County OVI Task Force checkpoints. Hundreds and hundreds of cars pass through, but often, only a handful of drivers get busted for drunken driving. Some usually also get caught with warrants out for their arrest, driving with no license or drug possession.

"The perfect checkpoint is that nobody gets arrested," said Lt. Joe Davis with the task force.

But more importantly, having check points set up on a regular basis should send a message and help keep drunks from getting on the road in the first place, David said.

"You're not going to arrest your way out of this problem. The way to work our way out of this problem is to make intelligent decisions before we get behind the wheel," Davis said.

Summit County Sheriff’s deputies have even had intoxicated drivers try to keep driving through checkpoints without stopping.

Investigators said this weekend has become such a big drinking weekend since so many families and friends are reuniting, and they’re celebrating when most folks have a few days off work.