JEFFERSON CITY, MO/June 19, 2017 (STL.News) Colonel Sandra K. Karsten, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, is telling Missouri’s travelers it’s imperative they include safety in their plans for the upcoming July Fourth holiday. Many people will travel somewhere to enjoy the many recreational opportunities in our state. No matter what you plan for the four-day holiday, please be courteous and follow all Missouri traffic and boating laws.
In 2016, five people were killed and 565 injured in Missouri over the holiday in 1,370 traffic crashes. Over the 2016 July Fourth holiday, troopers arrested 121 people for driving while intoxicated.
The 2017 counting period for the July Fourth holiday will be from 6 p.m., Friday, June 30, to 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, July 4.
The Highway Patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness & Reduction Effort) over the July Fourth holiday weekend. All available officers will be patrolling Missouri’s roadways enforcing Missouri’s traffic laws in addition to being available to assist motorists. There is never a good reason to drive over the speed limit. There is always a good reason to wear your seat belt. Drinking and driving don’t mix. Remember: Statutes direct motorists to drive with the highest degree of care. Please be a courteous driver and follow all traffic laws.
Troopers throughout the state will participate in a 20-Mile Trooper enforcement project on Friday, June 30, and Tuesday, July 4, 2017. As part of this special enforcement project, troopers will patrol a 20-mile length of interstate or designated highway and make every effort to be a visible enforcement presence. The 20-Mile Trooper project will take place on interstates 29, 44, 55, and 70, and U.S. Highways 60 and 63. Troopers will target all traffic violators and being especially vigilant of aggressive driving violations.
Motorists who need assistance or who witness criminal activity while traveling on Missouri’s roadways can contact the nearest Highway Patrol troop headquarters by calling the Patrol Emergency Report Line at 1-800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone. Motorists may call 1-888-275-6636 to check for road construction along their travel route.
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.”
Colonel Karsten also reminds the public that the Fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest boating holidays of the year. In 2016, there were 11 boating crashes, which included seven injuries and no fatalities. One person drowned during last year’s July Fourth holiday. Troopers made 11 boating while intoxicated arrests in 2016.
Troopers will be working on the state’s waterways to enforce Missouri’s boating laws and assist where needed. 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 your vessel.
Distractions and alcohol consumption slow reaction time.
Pay attention to other boats and watercraft.
Make evasive maneuvers early and deliberately.
Be responsible with your wake.
The many firework displays after dark attract many more boaters at night.
At night, remember to:
Check your vessel’s navigation lights before heading out, and be sure to have spare bulbs on board.
Avoid overloading your boat with too many passengers. This can cause the boat to become swamped and affect the handling of the boat.
Observe Missouri’s nighttime speed limit of 30 miles per hour on the water.
Slow down and take your time. Nighttime crashes tend to involve more serious injuries and damage, due to the lack of visibility.
Finally, it is illegal to discharge fireworks from a vessel, so leave them in a safe place on shore.
“We want everyone to enjoy this long holiday weekend, and everyone can when we make safety a priority,” said Col. Karsten. “Wear your seat belt every time you’re in a vehicle and your life jacket every time you’re in a vessel. Be courteous to other drivers and boaters, and follow the applicable laws. If your celebration includes alcohol, designate someone else to act as your sober chauffeur every time.”
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!