Drunk Driving Signs Go Up
MoDOT erected the first sign along I-270 near St. Louis on Monday. The blue memorial sign reads "Drunk Driving Victim" along with the initials of the victim and month and year the individual was killed.
Families that have lost a loved one can request and pay 600 dollars to have MoDOT install a sign near the site of the drunk driving accident. Signs will stay in place as a tribute to victims of drunk driving for 10 years.
The signs are meant to serve as a reminder drunk driving continues to be a serious problem among motorists in the state, MoDOT officials said. State Representative Bill Deeken (R-Jefferson City) said lawmakers want to keep drunk drivers off of the roads. The new memorial signs could save more lives, Deeken said.
Under the new "David's Law," survivors of accident victims can no longer place their own new memorials along highways. Only MoDOT engineers can add new signs. While highway workers won't remove or destroy current memorials at this time, officials plan to replace them in the future.
"We're trying to get these little crosses off of the sides of the road and put new signs up," Deeken said.
Legislators passed the new law 26 years after a drunk driver struck and killed David Poenicke. The sign that MoDOT engineers installed along I-270 this week was dedicated in his honor.
Poenicke was on his way home after seeing a Cardinals baseball game in St. Louis. When he pulled his motorcycle over on the shoulder of I-270, a driver passing another vehicle hit Poenicke on the side of the road. The drunk driver had a blood alcohol level of 0.14. Prosecutors charged the man with manslaughter and vehicular injury after the accident.
If you are interested in the memorial signs, applications can be found on the MoDOT Web site at: modot.org/services/HighwayNaming.htm