The Columbia Police Department received multiple grants to help better patrol roads for drunk drivers and youths not wearing seat belts. The grants, provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Traffic & Highway Safety Division, will go towards enforcing youth seat belt use and sobriety checkpoints.
Columbia Police Traffic Unit Supervisor Sergeant Curtis Perkins said the goal of the grant provided for the youth seat belt enforcement is to have a visible presence.
"We’re going to make a visible presence in the area, whether we’re sitting and watching, making sure people are buckling-up," Perkins said. "Whether we’re nearby in an area where young drivers frequent, and checking for seatbelt violations at the same time."
Columbia Police Sergeant Joe Bernhard said the sobriety checkpoints will make for minimal delays.
“The sobriety checkpoints are usually set up for three to four hour periods at one location, and the delay is depending on where it’s set up," Bernhard said. "But, most of the time it’s less than a five to ten minute wait to get through the checkpoint.”
The sobriety checkpoint period will be from March 14 - 17 in conjunction with St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Bernhard said that dates of festivals and travel are typical times that checkpoints are set up.
The youth seat belt enforcement period will be from March 15 - 31 and have dedicated officers watching for violations during that time. Perkins said that the police department would like to see seat belt use among high school students in town reach 100 percent.