Columbia, Jefferson City police offer safe driving alternatives

2 years 11 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, November 26 2014 Nov 26, 2014 Wednesday, November 26, 2014 9:11:00 AM CST November 26, 2014 in News
By: Tori Chamberlain, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - Authorities in Columbia and Jefferson City are taking extra steps to ensure safety for drivers on the road for the Thanksgiving holiday as well as urging drivers to travel responsibly.

The Columbia Police Department's traffic unit will monitor I-70 and Highway 63 between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Thursday. The enforcement event, which happens annually, works to reduce traffic crashes during peak roadway traffic due to the Thanksgiving holiday. It will also target dangerous violations such as speeding, following too closely, the move over law and impaired driving. Officers will also enforce occupant protection laws and driver's license violations.

The Columbia Police Department offered these tips for drivers to ensure safe traveling:

· Before you start your trip, make sure your vehicle is tuned up and in good shape for travel.
· Restrain yourself and your passengers properly in seat belts and car safety seats. Remember, the rear seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride.
· Be flexible in setting your travel plans. Leave early to avoid peak traffic hours.
· Stay fresh and alert when driving.
· Keep your speed down.
· Do not pass if you cannot see enough clear road to pass safely.
· Choose a designated driver who will remain alcohol free at your get-together.
· Do not text and drive. If you must take a phone call, pull off the road and complete the call.

The Jefferson City Police Department also urged safe driving, but as an alternative, the department and Fechtel Beverage have continued to partner to provide the Sober Driver Program.

The Sober Driver Program is a community-based program which provides free taxi rides to individuals who are too impaired to legally or safely drive an automobile, or to passengers who wisely choose not to ride with an impaired driver. Since the start of the program, well over 10,000 rides have been given to impaired individuals.

Free taxi rides can be acquired in one of two ways:

1. From an establishment that sells alcohol by the drink (by calling 636-7102).

2. From private parties that have acquired tickets in advance.

All Sober Driver tickets are valued at $10.00, and any costs above that amount are the sole responsibility of the rider.

As a reminder, the Checker Cab Company will only take riders directly to their home or a hotel. They will not stop at another party or establishment that sells alcohol. Passengers can utilize the same ticket as the driver if needed.

In addition, to assist with minimizing the risk of drunk drivers on the roadway, the Jefferson City Police Department will have additional traffic officers patrolling the streets specifically to look for impaired drivers. Officers will seek to enforce all dangerous violations and watch for and arrest those drivers who make the decision to drive while intoxicated.

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