LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — This weekend’s heat might have plenty of people in the Kansas City metro ready to party.

Some of them will choose to drive drunk, presenting certain danger for other people. Two law enforcement programs will encourage patrol offices to find drunk drivers in the weeks leading up to Labor Day.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says two out of every three Americans will be affected by a drunk driver. Police statistics show drunk driving concerns grow around the holidays, especially when the weather is hot, as it will be this weekend.

Officers will be on the streets searching for drivers who have no business being behind the wheel.

Missouri State Highway Patrol officers are participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative. That means some troopers will focus on drivers who appear to be drunk as they drive. Sgt, Andy Bell said highway patrol officers in our metro arrest 1,200 drunk drivers every year.

“People are not taking this seriously,” Bell said. “They’re going to stay in a proactive, high traffic volume procedure in a sense of rapid car stops, making sure people are getting home safely.”

MADD is also encouraging law enforcement’s effects to stop intoxicated drivers with its annual Saturation Saturday, which is scheduled for Aug. 26. Tess Rowland, MADD’s national president, cites data from 2021, showing 41% of all Labor Day weekend crashes that year were influenced by drugs or alcohol.

“These crashes never have to happen. Drunk driving is a choice. It’s not an accident or a mistake. It’s a choice,” Rowland said on Friday.

Rowland was a television news reporter in Florida until 2021 when she was hit by a convicted drunk driver.

The same rules apply to boaters, according to Bell. The law includes a charge of Boating While Intoxicated. The highway patrol will have officers on lakes and rivers, making sure boats are piloted by drivers who are sober.

This Labor Day weekend will be the first summer-ending holiday since Missouri lawmakers legalized recreational marijuana use in February.

There are no Missouri statistics based on DUI arrests linked to marijuana arrests yet. Bell refers to totals from Colorado, where 1/4 of people arrested for drunk driving were found to have been using cannabis.

The first Missouri totals are expected sometime next year.