Jefferson City Police cracking down on underage drunken driving

Youth Alcohol Enforcement Campaign underway

JC Police cracking down on underage drinking and driving

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Many young people have the time of their lives on prom night. It's the last night of their lives for hundreds of teenagers because of drunken driving.

That's one of the reasons Jefferson City police are joining other Missouri Law Enforcement agencies in cracking down on youth drinking and driving.

Extra patrols will be looking for signs of trouble Thursday through the May 12. Police will have extra officers on duty every night of the campaign.

They say these designated officers will not be responding to calls. They'll just be looking out for drunk drivers.

Police say every year in May they see a spike in teenage drunken drivers. They say this is most likely because of prom and graduation celebrations.   

"Because it's the end of the year, the graduating class is getting ready for the summer. Everybody's been cooped up all winter long. It's just the time of year," said Sgt. Doug Ruediger of the Jefferson City Police Department.

Jefferson City Academic Center senior Michael Williams says he believes his fellow high school senior's boosted confidences makes them think it will be OK to drink and drive.

"Before they go, yeah. They feel a little good about themselves. But- I don't think they should," said Williams.

Police say those students need a reality check, because drinking and driving can be deadly.

That's why they say having a sober driver is a must. 

 "Don't drink and drive. Choose a sober driver. Under the age of 21, young adults shouldn't posses alcohol, let alone drink and drive," said Ruediger.

And teens face some serious legal trouble if they're caught with alcohol, even if they're not in a car at the time.

"There are sanctions that can be taken against their drivers licenses, even if they're just caught in possession of alcohol. Even if they're not driving\," said Ruediger.

The overtime pay for the officers is paid for by a grant from MoDOT.

Between 201-2013, 85 people were killed in Missouri roadway crashes involving an impaired underage driver.

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