Governor Eric Greitens will decide if a proposed amendment that will eliminate DWI check points will become law. If signed by the governor, House Bill 4 will slash funding for checkpoints to just $1 per year. The new law would go into effect on August 28th, 2017. Currently, the budget for DWI checkpoints in Missouri is at $20 million per year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides those funds to the Missouri Department of Transportation, which then splits up the funds for each respective budget.
The Bill’s author has argued that checkpoints are not as of an effective countermeasure to drunk driving due to social media. Some lawmakers view the checkpoints as invasions of privacy and a violation of constitutional right, saying they promote the notion of “guilty until proven innocent.”
Fitzpatrick said he thinks money should go toward saturation patrols which he said are designed to put more officers out on the streets as opposed to stopping more cars.”Saturation patrols are more effective and they get more drunk drivers without the inconvenience to people who are trying to get from a to b, and are getting caught up in the process,” Representative Fitzpatrick said in an article to KFVS news.
MADD and local Law enforcement officers disagree completely.
“Using the budget to eliminate a proven countermeasure against drunk driving is disgraceful,” MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church said in a statement released by MADD on May 3. “We know from peer-reviewed studies that sobriety checkpoints reduce drunk driving deaths by 20 percent by catching drunk drivers. Publicity about checkpoints on social media and in the news deters people from drinking and getting behind the wheel, because they know they will be caught.”
According to KSHB News, Christopher Mann, a member of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving board for directors also disagrees with the measure. “Not only is this a slap in the face of victims of drunk driving, this is a slap in the face for law enforcement. Law enforcement officers throughout the state should be outraged that the legislators are taking money away from them at this time.”
To follow the Bill’s status, visit the Missouri House website.