According to the MoDOT, last year 280 people were killed in Missouri by impaired drivers. At least, 1,140 were seriously injured. Many of these crashes happen at night and involve violent impacts. Also, consider that in 2009 over 35,000 people were arrested for drunk driving in Missouri.
In light of this, Missouri lawmakers this year moved to enact a new DUI law. The new law, which became effective August 28, 2010, strengthens alcohol-related offenses involving repeat offenders and also allows the trial courts to set up special DUI courts. The primary advantage of DUI courts is that they can oversee convictions in terms of supervision, drug testing, monitoring, and treatment. Keeping potential repeat offenders under strict supervision will prove to be very effective.
Law enforcement in Missouri is also doing their part. Increased media announcements and more sobriety checkpoints were evident over the Labor Day holiday period when impaired driving is at its highest. Highway patrol and local police are sharpening their tactics to target drunk drivers and this should continue to be a traffic safety priority.
As a Missouri Crash lawyer who has represented a number of victims of a drunk driver, I was encouraged to see that Missouri now allows state-sponsored highway signs to memorialize a drunk driving victim. In fact, the first sign in the Kansas City district is in honor of Laura B. Reynolds, a 16 year-old girl who was killed by a drunk driver last Halloween. The sign is located very close to the crash site on Highway 24 near Fort Osage High School.