Highway Patrol, law enforcement crack down on drunk driving
COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies around the state began a two-week crackdown on impaired driving Friday.
The planned increase in enforcement comes as a lead up to Labor Day and as students are headed back to school around the state.
"We want drivers to know that we will not tolerate impaired driving," said Colonel Ronald Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "We will continue our year round efforts of enforcing Missouri's DWI laws, and through this campaign create public awareness to the dangers impaired driving causes on our highways."
As a result, more officers from departments across the state will be on patrol starting Friday and go until September 1.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data shows that drivers respond well to high visibility enforcement.
The department defines high visibility enforcement as a combination of enforcement, visibility elements and a publicity strategy to educate the public and promote voluntary compliance with the law. Examples include checkpoints, saturation patrols and other HVE strategies.
"Substance-impaired driving contributes to nearly 30 percent of all Missouri traffic fatalities," said Leanna Depue, executive chair to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "In 2013, 223 people were killed and 728 seriously injured in Missouri traffic crashes that involved at least one impaired driver."
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety asks drivers to follow these tips:
- Encourage safe driving behaviors among family, friends and co-workers.
- Choose a designated driver before partying. A designated driver is someone who drinks NO alcohol at all.
- Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a friend to drive you home if you have no designated driver and no other means of transportation.
- Always wear your safety belt - it's your best defense against an impaired driver.
During the same impaired driving campaign in August and September of 2013, law enforcement made 587 DWI arrests, statewide.