Missouri again considering DUI checkpoint funding cut

A proposal in the Missouri House of Representatives has reignited a fight with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The organization has in the past battled an effort to defund the state’s DUI checkpoints and the group is ready to do it again.

Proponents of the checkpoints say that cops not only catch drunk drivers at the checkpoints, but that the locations also provide disincentives for those who might want to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol.

The Missouri Department of Transportation proposed a $20 million budget for traffic safety, but an amendment by a Cassville representative would slash funding for checkpoints one dollar. The sobriety checkpoints were also defunded last year, but received $1.6 million in 2016.

MADD is urging the House to restore funding for checkpoints, arguing that the roadside stops reduce the number of car wrecks, injuries and fatalities caused by impaired drivers.

MADD calls on lawmakers to “protect our roads from the horrific, devastating and preventable crime of drunk driving.”

Funding from MoDOT had in the past been used to pay law enforcement officers overtime when they manned the checkpoints. Without the money from the state, local police departments across Missouri simply don’t have the resources to do checkpoints, said MADD Executive Director Meghan Carter.

The Centers for Disease Control says research shows that DUI checkpoints reduce alcohol-related crashes accidents by 20 percent. The very visible presence of police cars and officers roadside also helps reduce wrecks by drivers not impaired by booze or drugs.

Missouri and Illinois motorists injured in drunk driving crashes can learn more about their legal options by talking with a lawyer experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.