In the aftermath of two fatalities in the St. Joseph area, the Missouri State Highway Patrol announced that they’ll step up their drunk driving patrols. By increasing their use of checkpoints and saturation patrols, the police hope to decrease the number of car accidents caused by inebriated drivers.
Two Fatalities Spark Increase in DWI Enforcement
2016 was a year in which St. Joseph saw only one person die as a result of drunk driving – the lowest number in 15 years. However, in just three months this year, there has already been a pair of deaths from inebriated drivers.
This spike has made the Missouri State Highway Patrol decide to increase their enforcement of the state’s laws for driving while intoxicated (DWI). According to Captain James McDonald, the primary goal is to get as many impaired drivers off the highway, and the police will do it in any way they can.
Specifically, the State Police say they intend to run a sobriety checkpoint in Nodaway County and a saturation patrol in Buchanan County in March.
“We do them in specific areas, so we look at highways to see where we have higher number of crashes and alcohol-related reports,” McDonald said.
Saturation Patrols and Checkpoints
When police want to focus on finding impaired drivers, their two main tools are saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints.
A saturation patrol is a large group of police, patrolling a stretch of highway known for DWI incidents. These officers pull over anyone who looks like they could be driving drunk and make an arrest if they are. These patrols are known for drastically increasing the number of DWI arrests in the short term, and deterring drunk driving in the long term as word gets out that it’s harder to get away with it.
Sobriety checkpoints are a contentious police tactic. They involve stopping all of the cars that pass through the checkpoint area and checking drivers for signs of inebriation. The contentious part is that involves police detaining drivers even though they don’t have probable cause or even a suspicion that they’re under the influence. While the Supreme Court has said sobriety checkpoints don’t violate the Fourth Amendment, 12 states have used their own state constitutions to outlaw them. Missouri, though, is not one of them, so sobriety checkpoints can happen in our state.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
While there are still people who think that sobriety checkpoints should not be allowed, studies have shown that they do reduce the number of accidents caused by impaired drivers. Any reduction in the number of serious crashes is something that should be pursued – car accidents can lead to serious or even fatal injuries that change the lives of those in the crash, as well as the lives of their family members.
This is why the personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office work tirelessly to represent those who have been hurt in a car accident in the St. Joseph area. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash, contact us online or at (816) 875-9373.