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406 vehicles stopped at checkpoint Saturday

406 vehicles stopped at checkpoint Saturday

July 1st, 2013 by The News Tribune in News

The Cole County Sheriff's Department, in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Transportation, pulled over 406 cars and made one DWI arrest during a Saturday sobriety checkpoint.

The "Drink and Drive and Get Pulled Over" enforcement effort was at U.S. 54 at Hammond Drive in Cole County.

"Checkpoints like these are about high visibility and using high visibility as a deterrent against drunk drivers," Sheriff Greg White said.

"When the drivers and passengers of those 406 cars went through, they knew, had they been drinking and driving, they would have been arrested, so the next time they drink, they, hopefully, won't get behind the wheel."

During the shortened checkpoint, one person was arrested for DWI, but 7 were arrested for driving while revoked, while suspended, or without a valid license; two outstanding warrants were cleared; and two citations were issued for child safety seats. There was also one arrest for minor in possession of an intoxicating beverage.

In addition, 20 other operator's licenses were validated and eight more drivers were checked for sobriety.

In 2012, the Cole County Sheriff's Department arrested more than 200 drunk drivers, and is on pace to top that for 2013.

A Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety Division grant helped fund the checkpoint. This was the second checkpoint with major participation from MODOT employees and equipment. In addition, the checkpoint used volunteer reserve deputies, volunteer sheriff's posse members, and volunteer Cole County Haz Mat personnel in a variety of duties and assignments.

The Sheriff's Department was awarded $22,248 in traffic grants for 2011-12. The grant period runs from Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012. Of that, $8,000 will fund sobriety checkpoints, while $6,248 will be used for overtime for hazardous moving violations enforcement and $8,000 for DWI focused enforcement.

For 2012-13, the Sheriff's Department was awarded a total of $23,878 for DWI enforcement and sobriety checkpoint funding, at 7.3% increase.

Thanks to these types of enforcement efforts, the total number of Missouri traffic deaths declined to 826 in 2012, one of the lowest rates since the 1950s. Through June 26, 2013, there have been 313 deaths, compared to 392 for the same period last year, a 20 percent decline.