In a strongly worded opening address, Gov. Jay Nixon today told a summit conference targeting gaps in Missouri's DWI laws that he wants new legislation to ensure that drunk drivers are effectively identified and properly punished, and that repeat DWI offenders are kept off Missouri's roads to protect public safety. The summit was held in Jefferson City.
"Over the years, we've worked together to reduce drunk driving in Missouri," Gov. Nixon told the group of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, court officials, representatives of MADD and others involved in DWI issues. "One clear success has been reducing the blood alcohol level from 0.10 to 0.08 percent, with the result that we have safer roads. Now it's time for us to roll up our sleeves and work together once again.
"We must acknowledge that there are gaps in the law and close them, and make sure Missouri takes a comprehensive approach to a complex problem," the Governor continued. "This won't be easy, but lives are truly in the balance. Thinking about those lives we can save should be our guiding principle."
The Governor said the summit was the first step of discussing the problem, and that he hoped it would lead to passage of legislation in the upcoming General Assembly to identify repeat DWI offenders and keep them off the road.
Gov. Nixon convened the summit of more than 25 leaders involved in all areas of DWI to find solutions, including legislative improvements, to close gaps in Missouri's system of identifying, prosecuting and keeping repeat DWI offenders off the road. Following the Governor's remarks, there was a round-table discussion in which the representatives were asked to identify problem areas and possible solutions.