LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. — The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department is taking extra measures to ensure drivers are safe on the roads after four people were killed and seven others were hurt when police say an impaired driver ran into a group of motorcyclists near Aurora last weekend.
Lawrence County Sheriff Brad Delay knows that summer is one of the busiest times of the year when it comes to traveling, which is why he said his department is going to do everything it can to crack down on impaired drivers.
“Impaired driving is really the one thing we can make a difference on,” Delay said. “It’s really the one preventable crime that’s out there.”
Sheriff Delay said impaired driving not only refers to alcohol. It also includes prescription drugs and marijuana.
He said thanks to his dedicated deputies, if they’re not working on a call, then they’re constantly looking for those impaired drivers.
Sometimes deputies will even work long hours of overtime just to make sure the ten of thousands of drivers who travel through Lawrence County are safe.
Delay said he’s seeing an increase in impaired drivers, which means you can expect to see an increase in patrols this summer.
“We’re putting on some extra enforcement details and we’re adding extra people to look for these impaired drivers,” said Delay.
Sheriff Delay said before funding was cut short, the sheriff’s department would conduct sobriety checkpoints they say were pivotal in removing impaired drivers from the roads.
“One of the best tools that was available for impaired driving enforcement was the impaired driving checkpoints,” Delay said. “That was something that we were actually a part of — what I would consider probably the best DWI task force in the state, here in the southwest Missouri was the southwest Missouri DWI task force.”
But due to state legislature, funding for DUI checkpoints was cut down to just one dollar for the entire state, which caused Lawrence County to find other ways to keep drivers safe.
“And again, despite the fact of not having them, we’re still gonna make sure we’re doing everything we can to remove these impaired drivers,” Delay proclaimed.
He said every checkpoint conducted in Lawrence County costs around $7,000-10,000. but that price tag pales in comparison to saving lives.
“If we removed one impaired driver off of the roadway, it was worth $100,000 dollars,” Delay said.
Sheriff Delay said he is working with the state to bring these DUI checkpoints back.