More than 200 Missouri law enforcement agencies will be on the lookout this St. Patrick’s Day weekend for drunk drivers. Beginning March 14 and going through St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17, police officers, sheriffs and the Missouri Highway Patrol will crack down on drunk drivers and saturate specific areas in response to anticipated day and night drinking celebrations.
This is not the first time the state of Missouri has taken steps to deter St. Patrick’s Day drunk driving. Last year, for example, a similar crackdown was held and Missouri law officers made 379 drunk-driving arrests over a three-day period. The event is held with good reason. About 30 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Missouri involve impaired driving.
Deaths From Drunk Driving in Missouri and Illinois
Other sobering facts about the tragic consequences of being hit by a drunk driver:
• In 2012, preliminary estimates show that 205 people in Missouri were killed and 3,500 seriously injured in crashes involving an impaired driver
• In 2011, 258 people died in Missouri in an alcohol-impaired accident; one third of all the state’s traffic fatalities that year
• In Illinois, 298 individuals lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers
• In 2011, there were almost 9,900 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities across the country, which is 31 percent of all those who died in motor vehicle accidents that year. (2011 is the most recent year for national statistics.)
An alcohol-impaired motor vehicle fatality as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involves a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08 grams per deciliter. This includes drivers of cars and commercial vehicles such as large, over-the-road trucks.
Unfortunately, law enforcement can’t conduct such sizeable operations to limit the dangers of drunk driving in Missouri every day of the year. The statistics bear that out. While the catastrophic result can’t be undone, those grieving for loved ones killed by a drunk driver deserve compensation for their unimaginable loss.