Missouri Initiative Uses DWI Traffic Stops to Target Drivers

A new Missouri enforcement initiative called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over has been launched in jurisdictions throughout the state. The initiative is designed to use additional resources to achieve higher DWI arrest rates. DWI traffic stops will play a role in the enforcement effort, which is slated to continue through the first of September.

Official reports show that about one out of every three fatal crashes on Missouri roads involve an intoxicated driver. This statistic has propelled organizations such as the Missouri Department of Transportation to team with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to lower the threat of intoxicated driving in the state. Now, Southeast Missouri will serve as the launching point for the new initiative, which will focus on the use of a Breath Alcohol Testing van. The BAT van is equipped with necessary equipment to obtain blood alcohol content information for drivers suspected of DWI. A DWI enforcement car will also be participating in the campaign.

Drivers on Southeast Missouri roads should know that the BAT van is available for any agency in the Southeast Region of the state. This new technology, along with additional sobriety checkpoint equipment, allow officers to obtain breath test date for more drivers. These efforts, along with saturation patrols and checkpoints, are designed to ferret out those individuals who may have a blood-alcohol content higher than the legal limit.

The legality of DWI checkpoints has been debated for decades; in Missouri, these legal tools remain in use, despite the fact that they may not be entirely ethical. Drivers in Missouri should know that they have the option of refusing a Breathalyzer test. That equipment can be unreliable and provide false readings. Blood tests for blood-alcohol content are far more trustworthy and less likely to produce a false-positive result.

Source: Southeast Missourian, “New initiative ups scrutiny on impaired driving through August” Ruth Campbell, Aug. 14, 2014

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