Patrol urges drivers, boaters to be cautious over holiday weekend
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Colonel Sandra K. Karsten, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, urges Missouri's travelers to drive and boat responsibly during the 2017 Labor Day weekend.
In Missouri, 20 people died and 429 were injured in 1,028 traffic crashes over the 2016 Labor Day holiday. That means one person was killed or injured every 10.4 minutes. Of that total, troopers worked 293 traffic crashes, which included 139 injuries and 14 of the fatalities over the 2016 Labor Day holiday. Troopers arrested 100 people for driving while intoxicated during last year's holiday weekend.
The 2017 counting period for the Labor Day holiday will be from 6 p.m., Friday through 11:59 p.m., Monday.
The Highway Patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness & Reduction Effort) over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Speed, inattention, and impaired driving are leading causes of traffic crashes. Thus, all available troopers will be patrolling Missouri's roadways enforcing Missouri's speed limit, seat belt, and impaired driving laws, in addition to being available to assist motorists. Troopers throughout the state will participate in a special enforcement operation on Friday and again on Monday. This operation will include Interstates 29, 44, 55, and 70, and U.S. Highways 60 and 61. Troopers will be targeting all traffic violations, and be especially vigilant of aggressive driving violations.
The only 100 percent survivable traffic crash is the one that never happens. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Every day as we travel on Missouri's roadways, we trust that every driver on the road is going to obey the speed limit, pay attention, and drive sober. "Don't Violate The Trust."
Karsten reminds the public that the Labor Day holiday is a busy boating weekend. In 2016, there were 10 boating crashes which included zero fatalities and 10 injuries. There were no drownings over last year's Labor Day holiday. Troopers arrested 12 people for boating while intoxicated during last year's counting period. In an effort to increase safety on our state's waters, all available officers will be working over the holiday weekend. Missouri's boaters are asked to do their part by remaining alert for other boats and swimmers, and being courteous on the water. With more boats on the water, it is even more important to pay attention when operating a vessel.
Remember: Never operate a vessel while you are impaired. Alcohol consumption slows reaction time. Avoid overloading your boat with too many passengers and pay close attention to the boats around you. Check your vessel's navigation lights before heading out at night, be sure to have spare bulbs on board, and observe Missouri's nighttime speed limit of 30 mph on the water. Causing harm to another person or their property with an excessive boat wake may subject you to enforcement action or civil liability. Treat other boaters and property owners as you want to be treated.
Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!
"Let's say farewell to summer 2017 with a safe Labor Day holiday," said Karsten. "Use a seat belt in a vehicle or a life jacket when you're on or near the water. No matter what you are operating--a vehicle or a vessel--be a courteous driver and obey all applicable laws. Safety starts with you. It really is that simple."
The public is encouraged to call the Patrol's Emergency Report Line (800) 525-5555 or *55 on your cellular phone if they witness criminal activity or experience an emergency. These emergency numbers are operational for both highway and water emergencies.