Friday, April 27, 2012

Zero Tolerance, Zero Chances

It's not like it used to be.

When I was in high school, it was a regular occurance: it seemed every class had a crash story.

Each year, someone crashed on the way home from a party or event. Nearly always, they were drunk. Nearly always, other young adults in the car were, too. If we were lucky, everyone would get to go home from the hospital. That didn't always happen.

Drunk youth crashes were considered something that was inevitable.

Not anymore.

From April 30 to May 13, special resources will be focused on underaged drunk driving. Missouri law enforcement, schools and others who love teens, want to make sure Missouri youth celebrate spring, prom and graduation safely and while sober.

Though no one under 21 can legally possess or consume alcohol in Missouri, youth make up a significant proportion of drunk drivers causing crashes. From 2009-2011, 94 people were killed and 368 seriously injured crashes involving underage, drunk drivers.

Missouri has a Zero Tolerance Law. Drivers who are under 21 and caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in their systems have their license suspended. Minors in possession can lose scholarships and jobs.

Punishments can include jail time or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Insurance rates go up. Other financial hits include attorney fees and court costs. When family and friends find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.

Tell the young adults you know that special units will be out looking for drunk drivers. Ask them to program your number into their phone and to call you or another sober person to pick them up if they or their driver is in no condition to drive - no questions asked. Give them good options to protect their bright futures...or to have a future at all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Work Zone Awareness Week - Don't Barrel Through Work Zones

It is Work Zone Awareness Week.

You'll likely see news stories and hear messages about watching your speed, paying special attention and taking extra care when you see orange.

Work zones were on my mind as I traveled several hundred Missouri miles this week. What I saw was good!

When approaching a zone, I saw that motorists adjusted their speed, left room between them and the car in front of them and I didn't see a texter or cell phone using driver.


Still, a St. Louis area motorist died Friday when another motorist struck his car in a work zone, causing him to leave the road and overturn.

It only takes a split-second for a smooth trip to turn into a tragedy. And there are lots of close calls - as this video attests:

For your safety and the safety of my coworkers, please ramp up your vigilance when traveling in a work zone and be sure to buckle up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Respect and Remember

It's an honor, but it is a grave honor. MoDOT was selected to host the "National Work Zone Memorial - Respect and Remembrance: Reflections of Life on the Road." The traveling memorial, maintained by the American Traffic Safety Services Foundation, is a tribute to the memory of those who lost their lives in the nation's work zones - workers, drivers, passengers, police officers and emergency responders. It travels to communities year-round. The intent is to raise public awareness of the need to respect and stay safe in America's roadway work zones. The memorial will stand in the St. Louis Galleria from Tuesday, April 24 until Sunday, April 29, 2012. We don't want the memorial to be any larger when it returns to Missouri some day. Please - when you see a work zone sign - mind your speed, pay attention (turn down the tunes and put down the phone) and be alert for the unusual. To learn more about work zone safety, visit

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rollin' in the Green

March 29, 2012 - Near the Cole and Osage County Line. Union Pacific coal train crossing the Osage River on its way back to the Powder River Basin.

Find more transportation images through MoDOT's Flickr links -