Monday, March 21, 2011

52 arrested in weekend DUI checkpoints

Despite our very public warnings that we would be using the new Mobile DWI Enforcement Center to conduct two DWI checkpoints between March 16 and 20, police still arrested a total of 52 drunk drivers on March 17 and 19.

On the night of St. Patrick's Day, we set up a checkpoint with the assistance of Missouri State Highway Patrol and Jackson County Sheriff deputies from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. at 39th Street and northbound Southwest Trafficway. The results of that checkpoint were:

Vehicles Stopped-801

DUI Arrests-41

Driving While Suspended/Revoked-6

So more than 5 percent - or 1 in 20 - drivers stopped that night were driving drunk. That's very frightening, considering 63 percent of the people killed in Kansas City crashes last year had an impaired driver involved. That does not count those who were seriously injured. Channel 5 had a sobering piece about a teen who has to undergo multiple surgeries and lost his best friend thanks to a drunk driver.

The driving-while-suspended number also is frightening. Most of these people had their licenses revoked initially because of drunk driving.

Just two nights later, police conducted another sobriety checkpoint in another spot known for DUI crashes: 7712 Wornall. Here are the results of that one:

Vehicles Stopped-357

DUI Arrests-11

Driving While Suspended/Revoked-2

Ignition Interlock Device Violation-1

A little better with just 3 percent of cars stopped having an impaired driver, but still far, far too many. And the ignition interlock device violation comes from a person who has been convicted of drunk driving and must install a device that measures their blood alcohol levels before they can start the car. This person did not install that device.
While fatality crashes elsewhere in Missouri and the nation continue to go down, Kansas City's continue to go up. Impaired driving is to blame for nearly two-thirds of those fatalities, and it must stop.
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