In 2020, 103 people died in 97 crashes in Kansas City, Missouri alone, according to the KCPD. Drugs or alcohol played a role in more than half of those crashes. With this in mind, one would reasonably assume that state officials want to help minimize preventable deaths by implementing DWI checkpoints. Unfortunately, legislators propose otherwise.
Missouri lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would ban sobriety checkpoints and our team at Sanders.Law strongly opposes this proposal. DUI checkpoints help identify drunk or impaired drivers and ultimately, get them off the roads. We believe sobriety checkpoints help save lives.
However, many advocates for the bill argue that DUI checkpoints violate the American right to go out in public without government intervention. But the question stands, “Is the possibility to save lives worth sitting through a sobriety checkpoint?” As do law enforcement and victim advocates, we believe the answer is “yes.”
The proposed legislation follows years of budget issues concerning sobriety checkpoints. The state of Missouri cut funding for sobriety checkpoints in 2017, making it difficult to implement these checkpoints effectively, if at all. For instance, The KCPD’s Mobile DWI Enforcement Center is like a mobile police station that takes and processes breath samples from DWI suspects. However, 2017 budget cuts essentially took away these mobile DWI enforcement centers. As a result, police officers don’t have as many resources to detect DWI suspects as they once did.
To address the budget issues, State Rep. Justin Hill is letting voters decide whether or not they want DWI checkpoints to continue. House Joint Resolution No. 11 is up for voting in next November’s election, but our team has already decided where we stand: With victims.
As such, we do not support Missouri’s proposed DWI checkpoint ban, which states that “no person shall be subject to a roadside checkpoint or roadblock established by a law enforcement agency except in an emergency situation to prevent the escape of a fleeing felon or in the event of civil unrest.” Banning sobriety checkpoints only creates opportunities for more DWI incidents, and thus, preventable injuries and deaths.
If you have further questions about this proposal and how it could impact you, feel free to reach out at (816) 844-6938. We proudly represent personal injury victims in Kansas City.