After 2017 started with a pair of fatal car accidents in the St. Joseph area, the Missouri State Highway Patrol have announced that they’ll ramp up their drunk driving patrols. In addition to sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, though, police are expected to start questioning suspected drunk drivers where they had their last drink. Any evidence they get would help police enforce Missouri’s dram shop law, which could prevent further personal injuries from car crashes in the area.
Police to Increase DWI Enforcement
After a 2016 in which St. Joseph only saw one person die on the roads from drunk driving, 2017 opened with a pair of fatalities in just the first three months.
In response, the Missouri State Highway Patrol announced that they’d step up their enforcement of the state’s laws for driving while intoxicated (DWI). While their main tools for better enforcement are sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, police in Kansas City recently announced that they’d also go right for the source – the bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
Missouri’s Dram Shop Laws
In Missouri, it’s illegal for bars and restaurants to serve alcohol to people who are either underage, or who are “visibly intoxicated.” These laws are called “dram shop laws,” after the old word for a bar. Violating Missouri’s dram shop act can lead to criminal prosecution, as well as a personal injury lawsuit.
The idea behind Missouri’s dram shop law is that bars and bartenders are in the best position to prevent people from getting so drunk they can’t drive home. The law makes them responsible for ensuring that people don’t get too drunk while at their bar, and then getting behind the wheel to put other people in danger.
How Car Accident Victims Can Use Dram Shop Laws
If you or someone you love gets hurt in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you can use Missouri’s dram shop law to get the compensation that you need to recover. Many drunk drivers are underinsured or unable to pay for the injuries you’ve suffered. This can leave you paying for your injuries with your own money, even though they were the ones that caused the crash.
This is where dram shop laws come into play. By allowing you to file a personal injury lawsuit against both the drunk driver and the establishment that served him or her, you stand a better chance of getting the compensation you need.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
If police in the area are serious about cutting down on drunk driving fatalities in western Missouri, enforcing our state’s dram shop law is a good way to do it. These additional enforcement mechanisms can also help you, if you get hurt by a drunk driver. The evidence obtained by the police investigation could help you prove your own case, as well.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident in St. Joseph or Kansas City, call the personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office at (816) 875-9373 or contact us online for the legal representation you need.