Franklin County Sheriff's Department cracks down on underage drinking

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, MO - With prom and graduation season here, Franklin County Sheriff's Office wants to make sure Franklin County youth are celebrating safe and sober.  In cooperation with law enforcement agencies across the State of Missouri and MODOT, Franklin County Sheriff's Office will crack down on underage drunk driving and minor in possession of alcohol May 3 - May 13.

It is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess or consume alcohol in Missouri, yet youth make up a significant proportion of drunk drivers causing traffic crashes on Missouri roadways.  Many drunk drivers are under the age of 21.  From 2009 - 2011, there were 83 fatal crashes and 233 disabling injury crashes involving an impaired driver under 21.  There were 94 people killed and 368 seriously injured in these crashes.

In Franklin County specifically, from 2009 - 2011 Franklin County ranked 4th in Missouri for traffic crashes, having 41 involving drivers under 21, occurring in the unincorporated portion of Franklin County.  During the same time period there were 4 fatal crashes and 4 disabling injury crashes involving an impaired driver under 21.

Missouri has a Zero Tolerance Law.  If you are under 21, your license will be suspended if you're caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in your system.

"Drinking and driving is not worth the risk," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.  "Zero tolerance means zero chances: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

Consequences of drunk driving include jail time, loss of their driver licenses, 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.

In 2011 in Missouri, 217 people were killed and 867 seriously injured in crashes involving an impaired driver.  For more information, please visit www.saveMOlives.com