Police aim to crack down on drunk driving with saturation patrols

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Officers in the metro area are taking part in a saturation effort to catch drunk and impaired drivers. On Saturday night the Kansas City Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) joined forces with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to brief law enforcement officers before they began patrols.

"It just takes one drink that could possibly cause a crash and either kill [the driver] or someone else," said Susan Decourcy, Regional Administrator for NHTSA.

"So what we’re wanting to do during the 'Drive Sober or get Pulled Over' campaign is to get the word out that people shouldn't risk it. One drink is not worth taking your life or somebody else's," she added.

Many different law enforcement agencies attended the event, from local sheriffs deputies to highway patrol troopers and police officers.

"Enforcing drunk driving laws in this city is very important to this department and we’re all about reducing deaths and injuries that occur from them," said Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith.

Several county prosecuting attorneys were also in attendance, many of whom play a key  role in making sure impaired drivers are charged.

"I think that what needs to change is peoples behavior. On nights like tonight when things are going on and there’s a [professional] fight on, and you’re headed out, you need to make sure you’re making the right decision and making sure you’re protecting yourself," said Cass County Prosecuting Attorney, Ben Butler.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation nearly one third of deadly traffic crashes are caused by drunk drivers.

In Missouri, it's become more difficult to catch drunk drivers following a $19-million dollar federal funding cut that took effect in July 2017. These cuts have forced law enforcement agencies to shift away from DUI checkpoints, towards saturation patrols instead.