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Colonel Sandra K. Karsten, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, would like the public to make safety a priority this Memorial Day weekend. The long weekend is an opportunity to visit family or friends, go to one of Missouri’s lakes, or enjoy any number of recreation opportunities in the state. A safe, fun weekend starts with you. Wear a life jacket when you're on or near the water and use a seat belt when you drive. Always pay attention, whether you're on the road or on the water. Wherever you celebrate this long holiday weekend, choose to be a sober driver on land and on the water.

The Patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness Reduction Effort) during the long holiday weekend. This means every available trooper will be on the road enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists. In addition, the Patrol will assign troopers to 20-mile intervals along Interstates 29, 44, 55, and 70, and U.S. Highways 60 and 61 on May 25, 2018 and May 28, 2018. Troopers taking part in the holiday peak travel crash reduction enforcement project will be alert for all traffic offenses, and be especially vigilant to aggressive driving violations.

Motorists or boaters in need of assistance or who want to report a crime should use the Highway Patrol's Emergency Assistance number 1-800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone. For road condition reports, travelers can visit the Patrol's website at www.mshp.dps.mo.gov. Click on the Road Condition icon to view road construction areas throughout the state or call 1-888-275-6636.

Over the 2017 Memorial Day holiday weekend, nine people died and 496 were injured in 1,122 traffic crashes. Last year, troopers made 107 DWI arrests. This year's fatality counting period for the holiday weekend begins at 6 p.m., Friday, May 25, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 28, 2018. Troopers will focus their attention on seat belt use, use of child safety seats, impaired drivers, hazardous moving violations, and speed violations.

Motorists are encouraged to be safe and courteous drivers. Speed, inattention, and impaired driving are leading causes of traffic crashes. Please do your part. Obey all traffic laws and make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint.

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.”

The Memorial Day weekend is also an unofficial start to the boating season. During the 2017 Memorial Day weekend, there were 15 boating crashes which included seven injuries and one fatality. Two people drowned over last year’s holiday weekend. Troopers arrested 20 people for boating while intoxicated in 2017.

Boating is a great pastime and troopers want everyone to enjoy themselves. Never operate a boat while you are impaired; never ride with an impaired operator. Please be courteous to others on the water, wear a life jacket, and obey the law regarding safe operation of a vessel and no wake zones. Causing harm to another person or their property with an excessive boat wake may subject you to enforcement action or civil liability. Always 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!!

“Troopers will be available to provide assistance and enforce Missouri laws all across the state," said Colonel Karsten. "No matter what plans you make, whether you’re on the highway or on the water, please be courteous and pay attention. If you drink alcohol, never operate a vehicle or vessel. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend."

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