Full Newsmaker by KMZU’s Brian Lock:
MISSOURI — The Missouri Department of Transportation has launched this year’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled over” campaign to both prevent and raise awareness about impaired driving over the holiday weekend. The campaign runs from June 30 to July 4.
Around 170 different agencies in Missouri, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol are supporting the campaign. Local law enforcement will be especially watchful for impaired drivers over the holiday.
15 percent of 2016 fatal and serious injury accidents in Missouri involved an impaired driver. During the Fourth of July that year, seven people lost their lives and another 36 were seriously injured in Missouri traffic accidents. Of those numbers, three fatalities and five serious injuries involved a substance-impaired driver.
Scott Wilson of MoDot’s Highway Safety and Traffic Division explains that the main goal of the campaign is to emphasize that driving while impaired or riding with someone that is impaired is not worth the risk.
“The ultimate goal is zero deaths,” said Wilson, “Which is attainable.”
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety recommends designating a sober driver or calling a cab or a sober friend to avoid getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. People are encouraged to call law enforcement if they suspect someone to be driving while impaired.
As always, wear a safety device.
Consequences of driving while impaired include having one’s license suspended for up to 90 days, being fined $500 dollars and spending up to six months in prison. Refusing a sobriety test can also result in losing one’s license and having one’s care impounded.
“Whether it’s the loss of a loved one or someone is seriously injured, each and every impaired driving crash is 100 percent preventable,” says Meghan Carter, executive director of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving – Missouri, “If your plans include alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”
KMZU’s Erin Achenbach and Brian Lock contributed to this report.