COLUMBIA POLICE DEPARTMENT STEPPING UP IMPAIRED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT IN RESPONSE TO FATAL CRASHES INVOLVING IMPAIRED DRIVING APRIL & MAY 2014
As part of the Columbia Police Department's continued efforts to remove impaired drivers from our roadways, enforcement efforts will be increased in April & May. These enforcement efforts are in addition to the upcoming statewide DWI initiative from 05/01/14 to 05/12/14. This additional enforcement will consist of officers working overtime to look for impaired driving. The overtime funding comes from a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation Traffic & Highway Safety Division.
Already in 2014 in Columbia, there have been six people killed in fatal crashes (four fatal crashes with a total of six killed). Two of the four crashes have been confirmed involving an intoxicated/impaired driver. The two most recent crashes are pending toxicology results to know if it was a factor in the crash. For comparison, in 2013 there were a total of six killed in Columbia traffic crashes with three (50%) involving an intoxicated/impaired driver. In 2012, there were five killed in fatal crashes with two (40%) involving an intoxicated/impaired driver.
A portion of the increased focus on impaired driving during these dates will include at least one sobriety checkpoint within the City of Columbia, as well as multiple saturation patrols. Motorists encountering sobriety checkpoint should expect minimal delays.
Impaired driving contributes to more than 30 percent of Missouri traffic fatalities. Missouri has a Zero Tolerance law. If you are under 21, your license will be suspended if you're caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in your body. If you cause a fatal crash while intoxicated, you could be charged with Involuntary Manslaughter, a felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. Your license can be suspended for 90 days on your first arrest for driving while intoxicated. Your second offense results in a year-long revocation of your license, a fine of up to $1,000, and up to one year in jail. Any person guilty of a second or subsequent alcohol-related traffic offense will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle before their driving privileges are reinstated.
"There's never a reason for driving while intoxicated." states Columbia Police Department DWI Enforcement Unit Officer Nathan Turner. "Even if you are "buzzed" you are putting your life on the line as well as the life of everyone else on the roadway."