Col. J. Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, encourages motorists to include safety in their plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The counting period for the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday weekend is 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27. Troopers will be assigned at 20-mile intervals along Interstates 29, 35, 44, 55 and 70, as well as U.S. 60 and 63.

“The long Thanksgiving weekend is an opportunity for people to visit family and friends, which oftentimes means more drivers on the road,” Johnson said. “It’s important that everyone pay attention while they’re driving. Turn off your cell phones. That text or phone call can wait until you’re off the road. If alcohol is part of your Thanksgiving plans choose a designated driver.”

During the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 13 people were killed and another 627 were injured in 1,817 traffic crashes. That means one person was killed or injured in a traffic crash every 9.6 minutes in Missouri over last year’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Johnson said if you will be traveling this holiday, make sure your car is in good condition before beginning your trip. It is also important that you are well rested before you start driving. Remember to buckle up — seat belts save lives. Obey all of the traffic laws — all of the time. There is never a reason to speed, drive aggressively, or drive impaired.

The patrol will participate in Operation C.A.R.E (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. As part of this operation, all available troopers will be assigned to Missouri’s roadways to enforce traffic laws, especially those related to impaired driving, driving over the speed limit and seat belt/child restraint use. Troopers will be available to assist motorists as needed.

The Highway Patrol’s Emergency Assistance number is 800-525-5555 (or *55 on a cellular phone). Motorists should use this emergency assistance number 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. 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, the patrol said. 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.

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