Legislation getting tougher on drunk drivers and saving the state tens of millions of dollars is one step away from clearing the Missouri Senate and going to the House.  .

Senators have advanced a bill bringing Missouri’s drunk driving and commercial drivers license laws into federal compliance.  Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer of Napton says the DWI law change will keep road-building money from being spent on safety. Sixteen million dollars that otherwise would be used for roads and bridges will be diverted to highway safety projects if the legislature does not pass the changes in state law by the end of the month.   The state will lose an additional $30 million in this fiscal year and $60 million in federal road construction money in succeeding fiscal years if it does not approve changes in the commercial drivers license laws by the same deadline. 

Federal officials say Missouri’s law allowing judges and the revenue department to grant driving privileges is too lenient.  The state also has to require people with CDLs to have their health records used to get their licenses put online.  The state also cannot expunge records of drunk driving or failure to appear for court dates or other offenses from the driving records of CDL holders. 

The bill (SB443) will go to the House next week.

 AUDIO: Senate debate 37:32 mp3