driving laws

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.

The Case

(via Flickr/Phil Roeder)

Reporting by Jacob McCleland of KRCU.

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments this Wednesday (today) to determine whether police officers can take blood tests from drunk driving suspects without a warrant.

The case springs from a drunk driving arrest in Cape Girardeau in 2010.

Audio will be available later.

The United States Supreme Court will tackle the question of whether or not police must obtain a search warrant prior to conducting blood tests in drunk driving arrests.

(via Flickr/Phil Roeder)

Jacob McCleland of KRCU's reporting used in this story.

The US Supreme Court will pick up a case that could determine whether police can legally administer blood tests without a warrant.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol officer took Tyler McNeely to a Cape Girardeau hospital for blood tests after he failed field sobriety tests but refused the breathalyzer.

(via Flickr/MrJasonWeaver)

Illinois drivers are coming under more pressure to stay off their cellphones.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed four laws Friday aimed at making roadways safer.

Three of them confront the problem of drivers becoming distracted by talking and texting on their cellphones, something that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called a "national epidemic."

Patricia Cavazos-Rehg

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.

(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

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.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Todd Epsten dies; former president of the Board of Police Commissioners was chair of the state's largest liquor distributor

The former head of the appointed board that oversees the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has died.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Todd Epsten, who was the chairman of liquor distributor Major Brands, died Saturday of brain cancer. He was 52.

(via Flickr/Viernest)

Illinois may get tougher on drivers who don't just break the speed limit but shatter it.

The state Senate voted Friday to deny the option of court supervision when drivers break the limit by certain amounts: over 25 mph on city streets and over 30 mph on highways.

(via Flickr/MrJasonWeaver)

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.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

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.

This year's fatalities were:

When the head of the National Transportation Safety Board called for states to pass tough new laws banning drivers from using cellphones or hand-held devices, she said: "No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life."

While Tuesday's statement by NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman is undeniable, there are those who question the advisability of such a ban. Some state lawmakers and transportation experts say it could be difficult to enforce and that there's no real evidence yet that existing laws on hand-held devices have significantly reduced accident rates.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Federal accident investigators recommended states ban the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by all drivers except in emergencies.

(via Flickr/MrJasonWeaver)

Federal safety investigators say a 19-year-old driver was texting at the time his pickup truck, two school buses and a tractor-trailer truck collided in a deadly pileup on an interstate highway in Missouri last year.

The National Transportation Safety Board released the information Monday. The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to hear the results of an investigation into the accident near Gray Summit and make safety recommendations.

(via Flickr/MrJasonWeaver)

The Missouri House has passed a bill that includes language banning texting while driving for motorists of all ages.

Current law only bans texting while driving for those age 21 and younger.

texting while driving
MrJasonWeaver | Flickr

A Missouri House committee heard three bills today that would extend the state's texting-while-driving ban to all motorists.

But the bills differ in how the law would be enforced.

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would expand the texting-while-driving ban to all motorists, not just those ages 21 or younger.

Although the bill passed, some senators opposed to the ban attached two amendments that have nothing to do with texting-while-driving, in an effort to kill the bill.  But both were vehicle-related, so supporters changed the bill's title to include various topics related to motor vehicles. 

A Missouri Senate committee has approved legislation that bars all drivers from texting while driving.

Currently, only drivers 21 years old and younger are prohibited from sending cell phone text messages while driving.

But what's the problem with that system according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol?

It's hard to tell how old a driver is if an officer sees them texting.

St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office

Updated at 3:45 with comments from Indian community.

Updated as of 2:15 p.m. after 1:30 p.m. court appearance: