Over the Fourth of July weekend, law enforcement officials in the Bryan/College Station area and across the state of Texas participated in a "No Refusal" drunk-driving enforcement campaign, meaning anyone pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated could not refuse a breathalyzer. This raises serious questions about the intrusiveness of government and the trade-offs we make in the name of public safety.

Breathalyzers, commonly used in suspected DUI instances, are known to be less accurate than other means of measuring one's blood-alcohol content, like blood tests. Also, the equipment can malfunction or the officer could use it incorrectly, which would lead to a false positive. That would be terrible news for an innocent driver because it would mean he or she was unjustly saddled with a large fine, jail time, increased car insurance rates, etc. From a legal perspective, it also calls into question the Fourth Amendment right Americans enjoy against unreasonable searches and seizures. Shouldn't our bodies be safe from the government, especially if its agents are acting without a warrant?

On the other hand, drunk driving is a serious social problem. Drunk drivers can injure innocent bystanders and cause large amounts of property damage. And Breathalyzers may not be perfect, but most people would probably not want to take a blood test if they could avoid it.

What do you think? Is public safety enough of a reason to allow "No Refusal" campaigns like this one, or does that amount to the government overstepping its bounds?

Source: KCEN-TV, "'No Refusal' DWI campaign for the holiday weekend," 2 July 2011.