Gail Rehme has waited 26 years for this moment – to be able to see a memorial sign in honor of her brother on Interstate 270 in Florissant where he was killed by a drunk driver.
David Poenicke was 19 years old, when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Since his death, Gail has lobbied to have legislation enact would allow families of DUI accident victims to install highway signs memorializing their loved ones. The law is called David’s Law, and it allows families to pay for a blue highway sign with the initials of the crash victim and the date of their death. Fittingly enough, the first sign to be installed under the new law was one memorializing David Poenicke.
Families who want to keep their loved ones memory alive in the form of a highway sign have to pay up to $600. However, Gail has now founded a group called Who’s Next. The group plans to raise money to help families bear the cost of installing the signs.
Obviously, families of these accident victims will be comforted to know that seeing a sign featuring the name of their loved one, could possibly prevent a motorist from getting into his car in an intoxicated state. As a Kansas City car accident lawyer who frequently represents individuals and families of a Missouri DUI accident, I hope that this new initiative by the Missouri Department of Transportation will encourage motorists to evaluate their own driving behaviors and reconsider a decision to drive while intoxicated.
While drunk driving continues to be a significant highway safety concern in Missouri, we are making progress. According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 310 people were killed in drunk driving accidents on Missouri roads in 2008. In 2007, 333 people were killed in drunk driving accidents.