Joplin is a city in Missouri with a population of 49,526 (2011 estimate). The recent devastation of the 2011 tornado that claimed 161 lives has made Joplin authorities determined not to add to the body count by tightening regulations on preventable car accidents.
One of the preventive measures employed by the Joplin Police Department is to establish a checkpoint for impaired drivers or those driving while intoxicated (DWI) over the March 29, 2013 weekend. The project was aimed at making Joplin residents aware of the consequences of impaired driving. DWI is the cause of nearly one-third of traffic accident fatalities in Missouri on average; that number for 2011 was 218, with a further 867 sustaining serious injuries. DWI in Missouri carries fines, license suspension, jail time and other undesirable consequences such as felony record for repeat offenders.
Another preventive measure was the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which imposed fines for drivers and passengers who were not using their seatbelts. About 70% of all car accident fatalities in Missouri had been unbuckled, which approaches the state average seatbelt use of 79%, 6 points below the national average. The campaign ran from May 20 to June 3, 2013.
The need for catching DWI drivers before they do any harm and the wisdom of using seatbelts was tragically illustrated in a traffic accident that occurred in Joplin on May 30, right in the middle of the Click It campaign. A vehicle travelling erratically just past midnight rolled over as it hit the curb, killing the unrestrained female passenger and seriously injuring the driver. Further investigations will reveal if the driver had indeed been intoxicated as initial reports indicate. The Joplin-based driver is being charged with involuntary manslaughter, and may also be facing a civil lawsuit for wrongful death.
If you are ever involved in a car crash in Joplin in the near future due to negligence or recklessness of other, it is not due to any lack of preventive measures by the authorities. Consult with a Joplin personal injury attorney and help drive home a point.