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A coordinated advertising and enforcement effort, new legislation taking effect soon and new memorial signs going up are designed to work together to make Missouri drivers more aware of the dangers of impaired driving.
The goal is to help make Missouri roads safer, said officials with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Department of Transportation.
“You Drink and Drive,
This annual anti-DWI campaign will run from Aug. 20 through Sept. 6. Law officers will run sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols statewide.
“You drink and drive, You Lose” is a concentrated effort to enhance the removal of drunk drivers from our roadways and to further deter the impaired driver from ever getting behind the wheel,” said Capt. Juan Villanueva, the commanding officer of the Springfield’s Troop D.
Advertising messages will saturate the state’s media starting Aug. 16 to remind drivers of the consequences of impaired driving.
In 2009, 195 police agencies participated in the campaign and issued 909 DWI violations.
Strengthened Anti-DWI Law
A new anti-DWI law going into effect Aug. 28 will:
* Increase jail time for repeat DWI offenders and those with higher blood alcohol levels.
* Move more cases from municipal courts to state courts where penalties can be tougher.
* Mandate better record-keeping for DWI cases to better track offenders.
* Offer offenders opportunities to participate in a DWI court program that incorporates treatment and close monitoring instead of going to jail.
“This is a huge step in the fight against impaired driving,” said Leanna Depue, MoDOT Director of Highway Safety. The new law will help keep impaired drivers off the roads and save innocent lives, she said.
In 2009, 280 people were killed, 1,140 seriously injured and 3,719 received minor injuries in crashes involving an impaired driver.
The first David’s Law memorial signs have gone up in southwest Missouri — one on Interstate 44 near Springfield and one on Business Route 65 in Hollister. Another will go up on Webster County Route CC near Niangua.
David’s Law is named for David Poenicke, a victim of impaired driving. Poenicke’s sister, Gail Rehme, pushed for the legislation that went into effect in 2009.
The blue memorial signs read “Drunk Driving Victim!” and includes the person’s initials and month and year of the person’s death on the roadway and the words “Think About It.” The signs are requested and paid for by the family of a drunk driving victim.