December is typically when you would expect to see the deadliest night of driving, because New Years Eve has traditionally been the deadliest night to drive especially in St. Louis. However, this year the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported on it’s website that there were more deadly accidents and accidents with serious injuries on December 13th than any other night of the month, including New Years Eve. A total of 7 fatal accidents, and a whopping 19 total accidents with serious injuries was reported by the Missouri State Highway Patrol on December 13, 2013. That is nearly 3 times as many fatal and serious accidents as there were on any other day in the whole year.
Many people expect New Years Eve to be the deadliest night of the year, but in St Louis, fortunately there were no reported fatal accidents on the night. There were some accidents with serious injuries, and a steady flow of accidents with moderate injuries all through the night. The accidents started early, around 6:30 and continued for about 12 hours till 6:00 am the next day. This is considered by many law enforcement officials to be the deadliest 12 hours to drive as compared to any other night of the year, including the Super Bowl, and Mardi Gras.
Are “No Refusal Zone” laws responsible for a drop in driving accidents?
There are some who think that the new no refusal zone laws perhaps had an effect on the low number of serious and fatal accidents on New Years Eve in St. Louis this year. And perhaps the cold weather put a damper on people’s plans to drive around from one place to another in their cars. Many law enforcement officers encourage people to make a plan before they go out, and to plan for taking cabs or designating a sober driver.
The new “No Refusal Zone” laws will allow law enforcement officers to take DWI suspects to the hospital to draw blood, provided the suspected DWI offender has refused to the breathalyzer test at the police station. St Louis police make anywhere from 20-25 drunken driving arrests each month, and about half of those arrested refuse to take the breathalyzer test. The new laws will all law enforcement to obtain warrants to take the suspected offender to the hospital, a process which is only expected to last between 60-90 minutes.
St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce feel the new laws will make the streets of St. Louis much safer and are in full support of the new changes. It would seem as though the new laws could be having a positive effect, as there we no fatal accidents this New Years Eve, and the total number of serious accidents was high, but not the worst of the year, and below average as compared to previous years. For now, law enforcement officials and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office will continue to work together to enforce the “No Refusal Zone” policies and hope to see continued reductions in serious and fatal accidents.