There’s no question that groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are fighting every day to stop drunk driving, and over the years they’ve settled on a few solid ways they know will stop a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel. One of those ways are ignition interlock devices, and others include harsher drunk driving laws and DUI or DWI checkpoints.
Many states use DWI checkpoints to pull over as many drunk drivers as possible. Due to how these checkpoints run and the amount of police officers required to make one happen properly, it can take up a large part of the police force yearly budget. For some states that money can come in from the federal government, but as of July 1st, 2017, Missouri will no longer be able to access federal funds to pay for their DWI checkpoints.
Money coming in from the National Highway Safety Act is usually budgeted out for DWI checkpoints, but in a budget proposed by the Republicans in Missouri it was decided that they would only allow $1.00 to be used for that purpose.
The budget hasn’t been signed off by the Governor yet, but if it is passed as is police are going to have to dip into different wells to fund any DWI checkpoints they might run. The alternate to that? Police in Missouri stop having DWI checkpoints altogether.
What could happen if there are no DWI checkpoints in Missouri? Because they’re one of the main ways that drunk drivers are stopped in all states, police officers could be missing out on important opportunities to stop drunk drivers. Without checkpoints more manpower and an increased budget may have to be allocated just to keep enough patrol cars on the roads to spot drunk drivers, and if arrest rates go down, Missouri could see their drunk driving fatalities go up.
No one knows what will happen if Missouri loses funding for or ceases DWI checkpoints completely, but it doesn’t sound like an experiment any state would want to try out.