Imagine MU's Faurot Field packed to full capacity with 70,000 screaming black-and-gold clad football fans. Now imagine every single one of these fans has alcohol-related driving offenses.
Missouri law enforcement will be turning up the heat this summer on impaired, speeding and unbuckled drivers. A new summer enforcement campaign, "The HEAT Is On" begins June 30 and will include seventy days of High Enforcement Action Teams.
Effective July 1, repeat offenders of Missouri's alcohol-related driving laws must install ignition interlock devices in the vehicles they drive. Although the law primarily affects those arrested after July 1, it will also impact past offenders who have not yet reinstated their driving privileges.
"This law will help us crack down on the bad decisions that cause deadly crashes," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.
The summer months are often the deadliest months. For the past four years, Missouri has recorded the highest number of fatal and serious injury crashes between July and September. Between July and September 2008, 251 people were killed and 1,820 suffered disabling injuries.
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is partnering with law enforcement to reverse this trend. Law enforcement will be putting the HEAT on reckless driving behavior.
"We want drivers to remember to buckle up, don't drink and drive and obey all posted speed limits," said Depue. "Our interest is that they arrive alive at their destination each and every time."
In order for Missouri to lower fatalities to 850 or fewer by 2012, the spike in fatalities between July and September must be prevented. Enforcement will be coupled with paid media.
In addition to stopping repeat offenders from driving impaired, it's important to prevent any driver from driving impaired. In 2008, 262 people were killed, 1113 seriously injured and 3398 received minor injuries in crashes involving an impaired driver.
Find out more about "The HEAT is On" campaign at saveMOlives.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Audio files from Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the Coalition can be found at http://www.savemolives.com/media/index.htm