The Missouri State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to use caution during the long Thanksgiving holiday.
The patrol will participate in Operation C.A.R.E (Combined Accident
Reduction Effort) with all available officers assigned to Missouri’s roadways to enforce traffic laws, especially those related to drunk driving, speeding and seat belt use. Troopers also will be assisting motorists as needed.
Over the past several years, the patrol has experienced great success in traffic crash and fatality reduction on the interstate highways with the 10- and 15-mile trooper operations on the heavily traveled holiday weekends. While the patrol will still have a presence on the interstate highways throughout Missouri over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, shifting some of those troopers to U.S. and secondary highways will give the patrol a noticeable presence and afford the opportunity to expand the crash and fatality reduction to those corridors, the patrol said.
Missouri is experiencing an 8 percent reduction in traffic fatalities compared to the same time period last year, and the patrol is committed to continuing crash and fatality reduction through our education and enforcement efforts, it says.
The counting period is from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday. During the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, six persons were killed and another 437 were injured in 1,252 traffic crashes. Of the six persons killed, three were not wearing a seat belt. The remainder included two motorcycle drivers and a pedestrian. During the last five years (2005-2009), 64 people have died and another 2,903 were injured in crashes over Thanksgiving holiday weekends.
“Nothing is as important as the time you spend with family. Please make safety part of your Thanksgiving holiday travel plans,” said Col. Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “Make sure your car is in good condition and you are well rested before you begin driving. Please obey all traffic laws, wear your seat belt, pay attention – refrain from texting or talking on a cellular phone while driving, and don’t drink and drive.”
Motorists are reminded of the highway patrol’s emergency assistance number 800-525-5555 (or *55 on a cellular phone). The emergency assistance number should be used to report traffic crashes, crimes being committed, or other emergencies on Missouri’s highways. When you dial this number anywhere in the state, it rings directly into the closest patrol headquarters.