Mothers Against Drunk Driving urging lawmakers to not cut DUI checkpoint funding

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Tabitha Clark is a 20-year-old from Springfield. But, two years ago, her life was forever changed by a drunk driver.

"On December 5, 2015, Tabitha was going home from bowling with some friends and got T-boned at the intersection of Campbell and Sunset," said Tabitha's mother, Yvonne, as Tabitha cannot tell her own story due to a brain injury from the crash.

"She will never recover 100%," Clark said. "We are aware of that. But, we're trying to make her as independent as she can [be]."

The Clarks, along with the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, are urging the state legislature to not cut funding to law enforcement agencies for sobriety checkpoints from the nearly $20 million allocated to those projects, to just $1, which has been proposed this session.

"At the end of the day, we will fight so Tabitha does not have to go through what she's going through. That, my friends, is worth more than $1," said Colleen Sheehey-Church, National President of MADD.

Funding was cut last year, as representatives cited studies showing other methods were more successful than the checkpoints in catching a drunk driver.

"Data that I've seen thus far is that, in the fiscal year to date, drunk driving arrests are up," said Shell Knob Republican Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, who sponsored last year's bill. "So, we've arrested more people on drunk driving charges than we had the year before, which, to me, would indicate the method of saturation patrols is more effective."

Sheehey-Church, and Clark's mother, disagree.

"Some may say that saturation patrols are good enough, however, sobriety checkpoints have a much stronger general deterrent effect," Sheehey-Church said. "They prevent people from ever committing the crime."

"It's worth more than just a dollar," Clark added. "Please give us [those] funds."

Tabitha who can only communicate with the help of a tablet, echoed her mother's message.

"Please give us the funding to put drunk drivers off [of] the road."

The amendment that would cut the funding to $1.00 hasn't passed, but we will be following it as it makes it's way through the legislature this year.

This doesn't mean cities and counties can't set up checkpoints, but it just means they'll have to pay for them out of their own budget.

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