Our Opinion: Enjoy a safe, sensible and sober Labor Day weekend

Sobriety checkpoints may be an inconvenience for motorists, but inconvenience is preferable to other consequences.

Anyone who disagrees is welcome to get a second opinion from survivors of drunken driving crashes, who have suffered injury or the death of a loved one.

We raise this issue in response to recent letters to the editor about sobriety checkpoints and in advance of the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

“Another huge concern during holiday travel is impaired driving,” said Leanna Depue, executive committee chair for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “Always drive sober or designate a sober driver.”

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which began Aug. 16, continues through the Labor Day holiday.

In connection with the campaign, law enforcement agencies will take part in sobriety checkpoints and DWI saturation patrols.

Impaired driving is a real problem. During last year’s three-day weekend, troopers arrested 147 people for driving while intoxicated.

Drunken drivers, however, are not the sole focus of Labor Day traffic enforcement. The Missouri Highway Patrol also will participate in “Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). Troopers will be enforcing laws, including speeding, seat belt use, failure to yield, improper lane usage and more. They also will be available to assist motorists.

Once again, law enforcement officials face a daunting public safety challenge. In Missouri during the 2012 Labor Day weekend, seven people were killed and 413 injured in 1,086 traffic crashes. That translates into one person killed or injured every 11.1 minutes.

In addition to the traffic emphasis, Col. Ronald Replogle, patrol superintendent, urged Missourians to be safe during the busy boating activity that accompanies the Labor Day weekend.

Troopers arrested seven people for boating while intoxicated during last year’s counting period. In an effort to increase safety on waterways, all available officers will be working during the holiday weekend.

The Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the end of summer activities. We encourage people to be safe and sensible on the roadways and waterways this holiday.

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