Law enforcement agencies across Missouri worked to keep the roads safe on New Year’s Eve.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol started its New Year’s holiday counting period at 6 p.m. Friday, with it ending at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.
According to online records, there have been 21 arrests so far in Troop F during the counting period, including seven for driving while intoxicated. Troopers have also responded to five traffic crashes.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said nine people died and 291 people were injured in 845 crashes last year over the 2018 New Year’s holiday counting period.
The Jefferson City Police Department also had extra officers on the roads Monday night.
ABC 17 News rode along with Officer Shawn Dumsday, who said he tries to work every New Year’s Eve. He’s a part of the department’s traffic unit, and has spent the better part of 27 years learning to spot impaired driving.
“I make a stop for a traffic violation,” he said. “Then it’s what I find when I get up there: what I see, what I smell.”
His main goal is to arrest impaired drivers and get them off the roads.
“It doesn’t matter if i’m on day shift, night shift, December 31 or May 1,” he said. “I’ve lost three very close people to me from drunk drivers. I know the consequences of it, I know the significance of it and so I just try to keep drunks off the road.”
He told ABC 17 News that over the past few years, they’ve arrested very few impaired drivers on New Years Eve, which he said could be a testament to media coverage of consequences of impaired driving as well as saturation patrols.
“Uber has helped,” he said. “People are starting to get where they call a cab or have designated drivers.”
He hopes people get true designated drivers, who haven’t had a drop to drink, and get home safely from anything: New Years Eve or not.
“We’re not trying to tell people not to have a good time,” he said. “Just don’t drive after you’ve been drinking.”