PATROL URGES CAUTION

The Missouri State Highway Patrol urged that motorists use caution during the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, encourages everyone to plan for a safe 2019 Labor Day weekend. It's everyone's responsibility to operate both vehicles and vessels safely and observe all Missouri laws, he said.

Incorporating safety into your weekend plan — choosing your route, making sure your equipment is in good working condition, being aware of and following Missouri's traffic and boating laws, driving your vehicle or vessel courteously, wearing a seat belt or a life jacket — helps ensure a safer Labor Day weekend for everyone. 

In Missouri, 11 people died and 470 were injured in 1,048 traffic crashes over the 2018 Labor Day holiday. That means one person was killed or injured every 9.7 minutes. Of that total, troopers worked 257 traffic crashes, which included 119 injuries and seven of the fatalities over the 2018 Labor Day holiday. Troopers arrested 113 people for driving while intoxicated during last year’s holiday weekend.

The 2019 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. 

The patrol gives these tips:

•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 motorists travel on Missouri’s roadways, they trust that every driver on the road is going to obey the speed limit, pay attention and drive sober. 

•The Labor Day holiday is also a busy boating weekend. In 2018, there were seven boating crashes which included three injuries, but no fatalities. There were no drownings over last year's Labor Day holiday. Troopers arrested 15 people for boating while intoxicated during last year's counting period. All available marine enforcement troopers will be working to make our waterways safer during 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: Smaller vessels should yield right-of-way to larger vessels.

•Never operate a vessel while 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, so wear it.

“I urge everyone to plan a safe 2019 Labor Day holiday,” said Col. Olson. “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." 

The public is encouraged to call the Patrol's Emergency Report Line at 800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone if witnessing criminal activity or experiencing an emergency. These numbers are operational for both highway and water emergencies.

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