The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds travelers to make safety part of their Labor Day weekend.
Col. J. Bret Johnson urges the use of seat belts when traveling in any kind of vehicle and life jackets when on a Missouri lake, river or stream.
In 2015, 10 people were killed and 508 injured in Missouri over the Labor Day holiday in 1,094 traffic crashes –– one person was killed or injured every nine minutes. Of that total, troopers worked 348 traffic crashes, which included 167 injuries and eight of the fatalities over the 2015 Labor Day holiday. Troopers arrested 121 people for driving while intoxicated during last year’s holiday weekend.
The 2016 counting period for the Labor Day holiday will be from 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2, through 11:59 p.m., Monday, Sept. 5.
The patrol will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) as all available officers will patrol roadways enforcing Missouri’s speed limit, seat belt and alcohol laws, in addition to being available to assist motorists. Troopers throughout the state will participate in a special enforcement operation on Sept. 2 and again on Sept. 5. The 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.
Johnson reminds the public that the Labor Day holiday is a busy boating weekend. In 2015, there were 11 boating crashes, including two fatalities and 10 injuries. There were three drownings over last year's Labor Day holiday. Troopers arrested 22 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.
If you choose to drink alcohol, don’t operate a vessel, Johnson said. Alcohol consumption slows reaction time. Pay attention to the boats around you and ask your passengers to assist with this. Evasive maneuvers should be made early and deliberately. Check your vessel’s navigation lights before heading out at night, and be sure to have spare bulbs on board. Avoid overloading your boat with too many passengers, and observe Missouri’s nighttime speed limit of 30 miles per hour on the water.
“The patrol encourages everyone to have a safe Labor Day holiday,” said Johnson. “Please buckle up in your vehicle and wear a life jacket on or near water. If you witness criminal activity or experience an emergency — whether you're on a highway or on the water — call the patrol’s Emergency Report Line at 800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone. If your celebration includes alcohol, designate someone else to drive, whether you are in your boat or your car. Please don't become a statistic.”