Columbia Police Crack Down on Drunk Driving this Weekend

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is cracking down on drunk driving this weekend. It's part of the annual nationwide St. Patrick's Day "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.

Extra police officers will be at checkpoints throughout Columbia issuing DWI's from March 14 to March 17.

The Missouri Department of Highway and Traffic Safety Division is paying for the overtime with a grant to the police department.

Crystal Perkins, president of the Boone County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said St. Patrick's Day is a "drinking holiday."

"To be social is to drink is what some people believe," she said.

From her experience as an EMT, Perkins said the worst accidents she saw involved impaired drivers.

"Drunk driving is one of the most horrific crashes," Perkins said. "You lose all senses and all control."

She said drunk driving is 100 percent preventable. "It's a choice."

Danny, a cab driver in Columbia who did not want to give his last name, said nine out of ten people he takes home are impaired. He, like Perkins, said drunk drivers make a choice.

He also said the wrong choice can be fatal. "They either kill themselves or kill somebody else."

Both he and Perkins recommend options for getting home safely.

"Make arrangements prior to leaving the house," Perkins said. "There are tons of taxi stands downtown. Call a friend. Call a parent. Call a sober ride."

Danny said, "Don't drive drunk. Call a taxi."

Perkins said a big problem is people think they aren't impaired after one drink.

"Even at one drink, you're still at a level of impairment," said Perkins. "Plan ahead. Someone is a designated driver who does not have a single drop of alcohol. Do not buy your sober chauffeur a shot. They stay completely sober."