According to recently released statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), Missouri roads were safer this New Year’s holiday compared to last year. There were zero deaths on the road this year and no injuries. There were 11 deaths were recorded last year. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests by Highway Patrol troopers were markedly lower than last year. Troopers made 56 arrests for DWI in 2020. Last year, troopers made 130 arrests.
Sgt. Jeff Kinder of the MSHP credits the reduction in drunk driving to increased awareness of the dangers of drunk driving that has been facilitated though public awareness campaigns. Kinder cites a media blitz before hand that helped to make driver’s very aware of the consequences of drinking and driving.
Numbers released following this year’s New Year’s holiday may be promising for public safety, but they do not necessary suggest an across the board trend. Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day are generally busier holidays when it comes to making DWI arrests in the course of a year. Impaired driving takes many forms.
Although alcohol related impaired driving may be decreasing, law enforcement is concerned by an increase in DWI’s due to marijuana and other forms of drug impairment.
The issue is highlighted by a recent case in St. Charles County. According to police, a 67-year-old pedestrian walking with her husband was killed in a crosswalk when an intoxicated young woman failed to stop. St. Charles County, citing the case as tragic for all parties involved, charged the 20-year-old female with DWI-death of another.
The young woman is accused of driving while under the influence of marijuana. She woman is facing 5-15 years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors are expecting to see more DWI cases related to marijuana consumption following the ongoing implementation of Amendment 2. Amendment 2 was passed as a ballot measure in 2018 legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri. Concerns about impaired driving in Missouri are increasingly not just limited to alcohol consumption.
Missouri law allows drivers to be charged with DWI for being under the influence of any substance which causes impairment. This includes prescription drugs which are taken as prescribed. If you or someone you know is charged with DWI, contact an experienced DWI defense attorney immediately.