Lawmakers are in Jeff City this week finalizing our State’s budget for 2018. Last week, the House released a plan that would have banned the use of state funds going to DUI checkpoints. The Senate then quickly removed the language from the bill that would take the funding away. Now, lawmakers must decide whether to include funds before the May 5 budget deadline.
Proponents of removing MODOT funds for checkpoints point out that, on average, it costs our State $1100 per drunk driver arrested at a checkpoint. They feel that “saturation patrols” – teams of officers on patrol looking for and responding only to drunk driving arrests – are more cost-effective. Those in favor of checkpoint funding, including MADD and many municipalities, say that there is a certain visibility and deterrent effect with checkpoints that saturation patrols simply cannot provide.
We should know in the next few days whether the funding will go through. If no funding is approved, this does not mean checkpoints are a thing of the past; any city can fund their own checkpoint operation. But without MODOT funding, we’ll likely see far less sobriety checkpoints on our roads starting next year.