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Chief Justice Price Asks for More DWI Courts in Missouri

In Missouri, almost one in five people who are arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders. That’s why Chief Justice William Price of the Missouri Supreme Court teamed up with NASCAR driver Robby Gordon and local leaders to talk about getting more DWI Courts in Missouri. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.

That’s the sound of Robby Gordon’s racecar, which he actually drives in races, but also uses to encourage people not to drink and drive.

Gordon’s car is plastered with advertising for Jim Beam, a brand of bourbon, but it also bears the phrase “Drink Smart” on it as well.

Gordon and Chief Justice Price both agree that the way to stop drinking and driving is to create more DWI Courts.

DWI Courts help people who have been arrested for drunk driving break their drinking habits and learn how to drive safely.

Price says drunk drivers are 20 times more likely to be in a car crash than the average driver.

He says the DWI Court in Greene County has been very effective and he hopes to start more courts like it around the state.

“Drug Courts and DWI Courts help people who are in real trouble turn their lives around, break the circle of addiction and crime and become productive members of their families and society again,” Price said.

Price says Missouri has nine DWI Courts around the state right now and he hopes to open many more.

Peggy Davis is the commissioner of the Greene County DWI Court.

She says putting drunk drivers in jail and then releasing them doesn’t help them overcome their addiction.

“We’ve done nothing except keep them from drinking for about four or five months. They return to our community, they drink, they drive and they endanger the citizens of our community as well are themselves. This program is aimed at addressing those issues,” Davis said.Davis says the DWI Courts help drunk drivers begin a rehabilitation program.

NASCAR driver Robby Gordon says there is no reason to drink and drive and that’s what these courts are trying to teach people.

“The DWI Courts do more than just slap your wrist, throw you in jail, tell you to knock it off and send you back out on the road. That’s not what this is about. This is about helping people get their lives back turned around and getting them on the straight and narrow where they understand that if they choose to drink, don’t drive. They don’t go hand in hand,” Gordon said.Price says by pushing for more DWI Courts, he hopes to help make Missouri the toughest state on drunk driving in the nation.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.

Robby Gordon's race car. Robby Gordon talks about the importance of not drinking and driving. All of the speakers at the press conference in front of the Historic Courthouse. Police and other local officials attended the event. Chief Justice William Price of the Missouri Supreme Court says he wants more DWI Courts in Missouri.