Police crackdown on drunk driving over holiday weekend

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JEFFERSON CITY - Law enforcement officers across the state will increase high-visibility enforcement over the St. Patrick's Day weekend in an effort to keep impaired drivers off the road.

The Jefferson City Police Department joins Moberly, Osage Beach and other police departments across the country in the nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. 

During the St. Patrick's holiday period last year in Missouri, two people were killed and eight seriously injured involving at least one substance-impaired driver. 

"There are many other weekends as well, but with St. Patrick's, especially being on a Friday this year, it's going to be a big weekend, and we assume a lot of people will be out," said Captain Doug Shoemaker of the Jefferson City Police Department. 

Local officers will be spread across the city, particularly in areas with popular bars, looking for hazardous violations that suggest intoxication. 

"We do that through cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation, and we've done that for many years," Shoemaker said. "They work with us and many other agencies throughout the state to provide funding for overtime."

A federal grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides funding to MoDOT, which in turn allocates funding to specific departments. 

Jefferson City police work with local bars to keep intoxicated people off the road.

Scot Drinkard, owner of Spectator's Sports Bar, founded the Safe Ride Home program three years ago.

The program, which is self-funded by local bars and business, partners with a cab company to get intoxicated people home safe. 

"We fund it ourselves and we’re able to pay the cab company a little bit of money per ride. It gives you a $10 ride home free any time of the year," said Drinkard. 

The Columbia Police Department will not have increased policing this weekend. Public Information Officer Bryana Larimer said, "Our Patrol services will continue as normal. Our two-man DWI Unit will also proceed as normal in patrolling this weekend."

The substance-impaired driving crackdown runs from March 16 - 19. 

 

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