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Heavier traffic enforcement this month

Thursday, May 3, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:26 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

The Columbia Police Department has planned special traffic enforcement around the city just in time for graduation ceremonies.

Throughout May, extra officers will be out during commencement weekends, including MU’s, and high school proms.

Officers will also be working DWI enforcement during the weekend of Cinco de Mayo and taking part in the statewide campaign for “Buckle Up in Your Truck,” Sunday through May 12, and “Click It or Ticket,” May 21 through June 3.

The funding for extra officers will be provided by a Blueprint Grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation Division of Highway Safety. The grant’s purpose is to reduce fatal crashes in Columbia and Boone County.

“The number of traffic-related fatalities statewide has gone down 24 percent this year,” said Bill Whitfield, senior system management specialist for the Highway Safety Division. “We attribute that to good education through media campaigns and increased enforcement of traffic laws.”

On April 26, Columbia police joined forces with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Ashland Police Department to target traffic violations on Interstate 70 and U.S. 63.

This resulted in 15 arrests and 252 citations and warnings. Officers paid special attention to violators of Missouri’s “Move Over Law,” which requires motorists to slow down and move over when approaching emergency vehicles if it is safe to do so.

A Blueprint Grant from the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety provided funding for overtime pay of 14 officers.

From 2005 to 2006, the number of traffic-related fatalities doubled in Columbia, according to Columbia Police Department statistics. At the same time, the number of fatalities statewide decreased by 16.5 percent, according to initial Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics.


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