POPLAR BLUFF - If you drink, don't drive. If you drive, don't drink.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol will conduct a series of sobriety checkpoints and DWI saturations in the 13-county area of Southeast Missouri. The checkpoints and saturations will be conducted in areas identified for alcohol related accidents and frequent arrests for driving while intoxicated, said Captain George Ridens, commanding officer of Troop E
According to Ridens, the state of Missouri continues to see increased numbers of traffic crash fatalities, with a record number of 122 in Troop E during 2003. Although national statistics are even higher, approximately 25 percent of all fatal traffic crashes in Missouri are contributed to drinking drivers.
According to those same statistics, Missouri averages nearly 300 people killed and over 5,000 people injured each year because some drivers choose to drink and drive.
The sobriety checkpoints and saturations will be conducted throughout the remainder of the year and will be staffed by approximately 10 officers at each operation.
Ridens concluded: "Our goal is simple. The Patrol wants to prevent alcohol and drug related accidents that kill and injure innocent people on our highways. Troop E will be out enforcing the DWI laws to the best of our ability and we will continue those efforts throughout the year. We encourage everyone to make plans prior to consuming alcoholic beverages. Spend the night where you consume alcohol, use a taxi service, or use a non-drinking designated driver."
Anyone who observes careless and imprudent driving that creates a hazard to the public, or feels they may be following an impaired driver, is encouraged to phone the Missouri State Highway Patrol immediately. Those emergency numbers include *55 for cell phone users and toll-free at 1-800-525-5555.