MoDOT hosts 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' Campaign

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COLUMBIA - Missouri Department of Transportation's highway safety director Leanna Depue kicked off the department's annual 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign Thursday morning at the Boone County Sheriff's Department. Several agencies and local stakeholders joined the news conference.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be conducting sobriety checkpoints in an effort to encourage people not to drink and drive.

Depue said during the 2012 campaign, they made 714 DWI arrests.

"We're trying to encourage them to make responsible decisions," Depue said. "We want people to think before they choose to drink if they plan to drive."

MoDot presented its new Breath Alcoholizing Van, known as the BATvan.

MoDot has been testing out the BATvan since last fall at six sobriety checkpoints and Sergeant Brian Leer said the BATvan is the most functional van the department has ever had.

"It's a work in progress and we've been testing out the functionality the past few months," Leer said. "This new BATvan allows us to be more efficient and we wanted to highlight it for this campaign."

DWI victim Jerry Mitchell talked about his experience at the news conference.

"I lost my left leg below the knee and I have a titainum rod in my left thigh," Mitchell said. "I had to do a total hip replacement and I have a titanium rod in my left forearm as well."

Depue said impaired driving is not worth the risk.

"We lost 230 people in 2012 to impaired driving crashes and we're trying to reduce that number and that's really the main reason that we do all of these mobilizations," Depue said. "Because the sad fact is, that there are lives lost and their lives change as a result of impaired driving."

The campaign will run from August 16th to September 2nd.