Students at Texas A&M probably remember hearing about Mothers Against Drunk Driving when they were in high school. It is probably our country's largest anti-drunk driving group and has a lot of influence around Bryan/College Station and elsewhere. Now, an official with a Texas chapter of MADD has said her organization wants to see Texas' longstanding ban on sobriety checkpoints get changed.

Virginia Gonzalez, the executive director of MADD West Texas, recently told a reporter that her organization is always pushing for increased education, legislation and prevention regarding drunk driving. Evidently, that means an agenda that includes allowing state troopers and police officers to set up roadblocks and test every driver who passes through for intoxication. Texas allows field sobriety testing, but apparently that is not enough for some people.

Now, it is a good thing we have groups like MADD looking out for public safety because it certainly is true that drunk drivers do injure a lot of people every year.

However, we as a society have to figure out what trade-offs we are willing to make in the name of public safety. Here in Texas, we have a long tradition of respecting personal freedoms and individual liberty -- we respect and obey our government, but we do not need it to watch us like an overprotective nanny.

One reason we do not have sobriety checkpoints is that we do not like to idea of being pulled over and tested for alcohol without any provocation. Also, sobriety checkpoints cost a lot of money and that is something our state (like most states in the U.S.) simply does not have right now.

Do you have any thoughts on this matter? It is safe to say we all wish people would not drive drunk, but it is also accurate that everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Do you think sobriety checkpoints would help keep us all safe, or are they are unnecessary government intrusion into our lives?

Source: Connect Amarillo, "4 million American admit to driving drunk," Lindsey Stiner, Oct. 5, 2011