The University of Iowa has recently adopted new policies related to tailgating during home football games.  They are being implemented to curb the drinking environment related to the tailgating atmosphere near the football stadium.  These policies include banning hard alcohol in all university lots, prohibiting drinking in all university lots an hour after the game has ended (recently defined as “when the stadium is substantially empty”:  a definition that would make even non-lawyers question its implementation), clearing all lots 2 hours after the game has ended, and setting up sobriety checkpoints with the cooperation of local law enforcement.  While the spirit behind these policies is certainly well-intentioned, the implementation might be difficult.  Not only has the Johnson County Sheriff expressed dismay at the potential overcrowding of the county jail, but the legality of the sobriety checkpoints is questionable.

Iowa Code Section 321K.1 provides rules for vehicle checkpoints in Iowa.  The Code provides that vehicle roadblocks may only be conducted to enforce compliance with the law regarding any of the following:

a) The licensing of operators of motor vehicles

b) The registration of motor vehicles

c) The safety equipment required on motor vehicles

d) Compliance with provisions regarding transportation of wildlife.

The statute further provides other roadblock requirements, including safety, lighting, visibility, and a provision that the roadblock shall minimize the inconvenience of the motorists involved.  Further, the selection of motor vehicles cannot be arbitrary.  In other words, the roadblock cannot simply be in place for the purpose of checking the sobriety of drivers, the roadblock must be located in an area that is capable of handling the traffic from tens of thousands of fans, each car must be stopped (or some other non-arbitrary plan must be in place) and the area must be adequately staffed with officers.

Again, although these policies are probably a step in the right direction, their implementation and legality have yet to be determined.

Go Hawks.