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Police Cracking Down on Drunk Driving During the Holidays

The Springfield Police Department will increase its efforts in getting drunk-drivers off the streets this holiday season. This is part of a state-wide effort to reduce deaths and serious injuries caused by impaired drivers. KSMU’s Adam Hammons has more.

During the holiday season, many people go to parties, they have fun, and maybe they have a few drinks. So across the state, police departments are increasing their efforts in getting drunk drivers off the streets during the holidays.

Matt Brown is a spokesperson for the Springfield Police Department. He explains what some police officers will be doing.

“It’s called saturation patrols, where we have groups of officers that are funded by a grant provided by the state that go out and focus on targeted areas that we know have a higher incident of DWI arrests and incidents. So it’s not specific to just one area where we hang out that entire area, we could go from location to location to location.”

Brown says officers who are not a part of the patrols will also have a heightened awareness in looking for impaired drivers.

Brown has these tips if you see a drunk driver on the road.

“The first one is, of course call 911 immediately and you’ll be told by the dispatcher if it’s safe for you to follow behind that person. They’ll ask you how fast are you going, where are you at. It may be possible for you to follow safely behind and report their actions, but obviously it may not. So the dispatcher will tell you to pull over the side of the road or stop following them. And we’ll try to get an officer dispatched out immediately.”

The police department says driving while intoxicated is still the number one cause for car crashes in Missouri. In Springfield alone, four people were killed in 2009 and 127 were injured.

For KSMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.