For more information, contact Steve Porter, 816-607-2152.
See also Choose Your Ride video on youtube
KANSAS CITY – This St. Patrick’s Day, those who celebrate with a drink must also choose how they get home – a designated driver, a taxi, a police car, or a hearse.
With that in mind, transportation safety advocates and law enforcement officials from throughout the Kansas City area are launching a concerted effort over the next few weeks to crack down on impaired driving through Operation Impact.
This year’s theme, “Choose Your Ride,” emphasizes that drinking and driving is a conscious choice – and one of the worst decisions a person can make. Law enforcement officers will be out in force with sobriety checkpoints, stepped up patrols and other strategies over the next few weeks to catch impaired drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, MoDOT’s Traffic and Highway Safety Division, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Kansas City Police, KDOT and law enforcement from Missouri and Kansas have brought in patrol cars, sobriety checkpoint vehicles, a taxi cab and a hearse to illustrate the choices and consequences.
Choosing this week for Operation Impact is no coincidence. For many universities and colleges, it is spring break, and it comes at a time when St. Patrick’s Day events and basketball tournaments are under way, when celebrating is foremost on the minds of young drivers.
Throughout 2013 in Missouri, 198 people were killed and 579 seriously injured in accidents that involved at least one substance-impaired driver. From 2011-2013, there were 68 fatal crashes and 200 serious-injury crashes involving a substance-impaired driver under 21 in Missouri. There were 84 people killed and 312 seriously injured in these crashes.
Youth make up a significant proportion of substance-impaired drivers causing traffic crashes on Missouri roadways. During last spring’s Operation Impact, law enforcement officers arrested 412 drivers in just a three-day period. A significant portion of those arrests were young drivers, many under 21, even though it is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess or consume alcohol in Missouri. Missouri has a Zero Tolerance Law. If you are under 21, your license will be suspended if you’re caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in your system.
But young drivers aren’t the only target of Operation Impact. In 2012, MoDOT lost Motorist Assist Operator Clifton Scott, a victim of a drunk driver who was just sentenced to nine years in prison for the fatal crash on I-70. Scott’s niece, Porsha Jones, gives testimony today of the heartbreaking loss that drunk driving can cause.
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