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JPD Pilots Program to Curb Impaired Driving - KOAM TV 7

JPD Pilots Program to Curb Impaired Driving

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Joplin, MO -

Joplin police join forces with the national highway traffic safety administration to launch a fifteen month campaign against impaired driving.
          Officials explained at a press conference today that  stopping the problem will take more than law enforcement alone.

Among the speakers, retired Missouri  Highway Patrol superintendent Ron Replogle who once patrolled Newton and McDonald counties in his early career. He said, "I still have lots of memories of working a lot of very traumatic fatal crashes of impaired drivers along 71 highway."

Joplin's high numbers of DWI arrests prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  to  partner with the city in a unique campaign with a goal to curb impaired driving.
NHTSA Regional Administrator Susan Decourcy said the goal is,
Save lives. Reduce injuries, fatalities on the roadway  from impaired drivers  and really get the message out. Dont drink and drive. Dont drive impaired actually  period. Whether  it's alcohol, illegal  drugs, prescription drugs, if you take too much. Impairment  is impairment."

Up to  fifty thousand dollars in grant money is available to JPD in the partnership and  will help provide education materials and equipment for the department according to Chief Matt Stewart.

Stewart detailed  the departments arrests by its DWI unit.  In 2016 the unit made 942 stops and 342 arrests. While in 2017, the unit made 1,063 stops and 346 arrests.


In Joplin, Jared Swann and Katrina Jones are designated DWI officers.

Swann said of the high numbers,
Its unfortunate,  cause  it's preventable. Every night when we're running across them.  It's sad that you're continuing to run  into some of the same people over and over."

Replogle who now works with Mothers Against Drunk Driving as the National

Thanked police officers, You are our front line heroes  in this fight against drunk driving.

Replogle remembers delivering his first death notification in July of 1984.
He said, "A 17-year old young man who was underage and shouldn
t have been drinking and crashed on his way home."

 He personally knows the impact of drunk driver after one killed a friend and fellow trooper, Michael Webster in 1993. Replogle explained, "He had a car stopped that night that was a drunk driver, when he was struck and killed by another drunk driver."

All  say the goal of the "We're out there too," campaign  is to prevent  impaired driving, by educating the public that it
s a choice.


Replogle said, "Just plan ahead. There's so many resources out there today with ride sharing, uber and lyft, taxis, designated drivers."

And Decourcy said NHTSA has a mobile app called Saferride to get home rather than drive under the influence. Find the app at this link.  

Decourcy said Joplins hospitals, businesses and organizations willing to be partners in the effort will hopefully lead to success that can be carried into other communities.  But it all starts with individuals.  "It is the community saying we dont want impaired drivers on our roads   anymore."

One partner is Lamar Advertising which will provide billboard space for the campaign. Those messages should be appearing in a week or two.

 

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