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Steve Porter 607-2152

October 12, 2010 12:00 AM
New Sign Honors Victim, Raises Awareness of Drunk Driving

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - The family of 16-year-old Laura Reynolds honored her memory this month by a simple yet powerful statement: A sign installed along eastbound Route 24 between Davis Road and Blue Mills Road in Independence near where a drunk driver took her life last Halloween night.

Laura was the front seat passenger in a car struck head-on by a 19-year-old drunk driver. The sign is the first of its kind in MoDOT's Kansas City District, and is placed as close as safely possible to the site of the collision.

The new signs authorized by the Missouri General Assembly to help memorialize drunk-driving victims urge drivers to think about their choices this fall and in the months ahead. 

 "Drinking and then choosing to drive is a decision that tragically takes lives," said Beth Wright, MoDOT District Engineer. "This new sign recalls the loss of a vibrant Fort Osage High School junior, while raising awareness of the dangers of impaired driving."

The signs are part David's Law, which went into effect more than a year ago. The law is named after David Poenicke, a victim of impaired driving. Poenicke's sister, Gail Rehme, was a leading force in getting the legislation passed.

The blue memorial signs read "Drunk Driving Victim!" and include the person's initials and the month and year they were killed. At the bottom it reads "Think About It!" The signs can be requested and paid for by the family of a drunk driving victim.

Impaired driving continues to be a problem among motorists, many of whom don't realize how little of a substance it actually takes to affect driving skills and put themselves and others at risk.

Last year Laura Reynolds was among 280 killed and 1,140 seriously injured in Missouri crashes involving an impaired driver.

To learn more, visit saveMOlives.com and click on Impaired Driving.

For more information about other MoDOT projects, please visit MoDOT's Website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter or send questions and comments to kccommunityrelations@modot.mo.gov.

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