Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, recognizes Memorial Day weekend is highly anticipated, especially after these last few months. A safe, fun weekend starts with planning and good decisions. Please remember to observe social distancing and other CDC guidelines, and stay home if you are ill. If your plans include driving or boating, choose to be courteous and obey all Missouri laws. Use a seat belt when you drive and wear a life jacket when you’re on or near the water. Always pay attention, whether you’re operating a vehicle or a vessel, and 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.

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 as well as road conditions throughout the state or call 1-888-275-6636.

Over the 2019 Memorial Day holiday weekend, eight people died and 433 were injured in 1,009 traffic crashes. Last year, troopers made 96 DWI arrests. This year’s counting period for the holiday weekend begins at 6 p.m., Friday, May 22, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 25, 2020. 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 do their part to make Missouri’s roadways safer. 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.

Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, “If I could just go back …”

The Memorial Day weekend is also an unofficial start to the boating season. During the 2019 Memorial Day weekend, there were seven boating crashes which included two fatalities and three injuries. No one drowned over last year’s holiday weekend. Troopers arrested 10 people for boating while intoxicated over the 2019 Memorial Day weekend.

Missouri provides a variety of opportunities for boating. 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. Never operate a boat while you are impaired; never ride with an impaired operator.

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!!

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