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Patrol to conduct accident reduction, drinking and driving programs through Labor Day holiday

Labor Day weekend is fast approaching. Many families will plan one last special outing to mark the end of summer. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds motorists to expect a change in traffic patterns during the Labor Day weekend.

The Labor Day counting period will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 29, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 1, 2008. The Patrol, along with local law enforcement, will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), as well as the You Drink, You Drive, You Lose campaign (August 15 through September 1, 2008) during this holiday weekend.

If alcohol is part of your Labor Day holiday celebration, don’t drink and drive. Getting arrested could be the least of your concerns. There are court costs, medical bills, or perhaps jail time. If you kill or injure someone, you’ll pay a price for the rest of your life.

If you choose to drink this Labor Day holiday, choose a designated driver.

“The Patrol has zero tolerance for drunk driving,” said Colonel James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Patrol. “Troopers are vigilant in their quest to remove intoxicated drivers from Missouri’s roadways.”

Colonel Keathley urges drivers to obey Missouri’s traffic laws, and watch for changes in traffic patterns due to the number of travelers or road construction. “Everyone in the vehicle should buckle up. The Patrol, along with other state and local law enforcement agencies, has worked diligently to decrease traffic fatalities in Missouri through educational and enforcement programs,” said Colonel Keathley. “To help ensure everyone’s safety, offer assistance, and enforce Missouri’s traffic laws, the Highway Patrol will schedule every available officer to patrol the roadways. In addition, troopers will be assigned to 15-mile increments along Interstates 29, 44, 55, and 70, in an effort to increase awareness and safety.”

Last year, 14 people were killed and 537 persons were injured in 1,107 traffic crashes occurring during the Labor Day holiday counting period.

That is one person killed or injured every 8.5 minutes. Over the past five years (2003-2007), 77 persons were killed and 2,769 were injured in Labor Day holiday crashes.

Travelers needing assistance, or reporting a drunk or careless driver, illegal activity on the highways, or a stalled motorist can call the Patrol’s Emergency Hotline at 1-800-525-5555 or, on a cellular phone, dial *55. To receive the latest road conditions for major Missouri highways, motorists may call the Patrol’s Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-222-6400 or (573) 526-8828.

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