The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case testing whether the police must get a warrant before ordering blood to be drawn from an unwilling drunken-driving suspect.
The court has long held that, except in emergency situations, warrants are required when government officials order bodily intrusions like a blood draw. But in Wednesday's case, the state of Missouri and the Obama administration contended that warrants should not be required before administering blood tests to suspected drunken drivers.
A chart illustrates data collected in the study, and shows the relationship between the percentage of states with graduated teen driving laws and the percentage of teens who drove after drinking themselves, or rode with a driver who had been drinking.
Credit Patricia Cavazos-Rehg
This chart illustrates the times at which teens are allowed to drive in different states.
New research out of Washington University suggests the answer is "yes" to our headline question - that laws restricting how late at night teens can drive or how many passengers they can have may also be keeping teens from driving drunk.
The study used data from 1999 to 2009 on teen drinking and driving in 45 states with graduated driving licensing laws.
Wash U. psychologist Patricia Cavazos-Rehg led the study. She says states adopted teen driving restrictions at different times, and that some states are stricter than others.
The Missouri Highway Patrol and the Illinois State Police are urging drivers to slow down, buckle up and eliminate possible distractions in their cars as they return home from the Memorial Day weekend.
"Inattentive driving is a big problem. We see not only texting on cell phones; we also see reading books and newspapers, putting on makeup, eating full meals in cars," said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol.
A proposed compromise to expand Missouri's texting-while-driving law appears to have fallen flat in a Senate committee.
The Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill by that would prohibit all drivers - not just those 21 and younger - from texting while driving. Because similar bills have failed in the past, Democratic Sen. Robin Wright-Jones of St. Louis proposed making texting a secondary offense - meaning police would have to pull motorists over for something else before they could write a ticket for texting.
Fatalities and drunken driving arrests were up this Christmas season, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
From 6 p.m. Friday until just before midnight on Sunday, state troopers investigated 213 crashes, which included two of the three fatalities and 67 injuries. Fifty-six people were arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Last year, troopers investigated 487 crashes, including one of two fatalities and 122 injuries, and arrested 51 people for impaired driving.