MoDOT Proposes Changes to Law On Drunk Driving Offenses

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COLUMBIA - Representatives from the Central Missouri office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reacted Thursday to MoDOT's proposal to change a 2010 state law about repeat drunken driving offenses.

The proposal insists the state needs to clarify provisions on community service for offenders and set limited driving privileges more in line with federal standards.

Boone County Sheriff Brian Lear said there are about 15,000 alcohol-related crashes in the United States. He said this is a rather alarming number that never gets the recognition it needs.

In fact, he mentioned that littering, a class A misdemeanor, has more serious consequences in the state of Missouri than a first-offense DWI (which is a class B misdemeanor).

A drunk driver is the reason Phaedra Olsen sits in a wheelchair today. She said stricter penalties for drunk drivers wouldn't hurt.

"I think that it's the deterrent that is a big factor there. If people would just make better choices to begin with, whether it's a designated driver, calling a cab, using even the Stripes program here in town... if we're making those right choices to begin with, then those consequences aren't going to affect us."

According to a new study, the number of fatal crashes in the United States is up for 18 year olds. Lear said he wouldn't be surprised to learn if many of these incidents are alcohol related. He hopes the new changes and updated statistics might bring light to a bigger issue.