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Highway Patrol encourages safe Memorial Day weekend


During the summer, Missouri has a lot to offer with its state parks, lakes, sporting events, and attractions. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds everyone to include safety when they plan their holiday weekend.

Expect more travelers on Missouri’s roadways and an increase in boating traffic on the state’s lakes and rivers. Drivers and boat operators are reminded to follow all of Missouri’s laws and be courteous. Always wear a seat belt when traveling in a vehicle and wear a life jacket when near, on, or in the water.

This year's Memorial Day holiday counting period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 26, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 29. Every available trooper will be on the road enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists. Troopers will focus their attention on hazardous moving violations, speed violations, and impaired drivers. The Patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness Reduction Effort) during Memorial Day weekend.

Over the 2022 Memorial Day holiday weekend, 13 people died and 507 were injured in 1,043 traffic crashes.

The Memorial Day weekend is also an unofficial start to the boating season. During the 2022 Memorial Day weekend, there were nine boating crashes, which included one fatality and four injuries. No one drowned over last year’s Memorial Day weekend. Last year, troopers made 131 driving while intoxicated and seven boating while intoxicated arrests.

Motorists are encouraged to do their part to make Missouri’s roadways safer. Speed, inattention, and impaired driving are leading causes of traffic crashes. Drivers should obey all traffic laws and make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint.

When on the water, boaters and their occupants should be courteous to others enjoying Missouri’s lakes and rivers, wear a life jacket, and obey the law regarding the safe operation of a vessel and no wake zones. Causing harm to another person or their property with an excessive boat wake may subject the driver to enforcement action or civil liability.

When traveling up Missouri’s rivers in a jet boat, turn off the motor for a second and listen before navigating around that bend. River bends create blind spots, and listening for boats coming down the river allows drivers time to give way. Also, jet boats should stay closer to the center of the river to give floaters room.

When operating a power-driven vessel, it’s important to understand the rules of navigation. Power-driven vessels must give way to anchored or disabled vessels, vessels restricted in their ability to maneuver, and commercial fishing vessels. Power-driven vessels also yield to a sailboat under sail unless it is overtaking, and canoes or other vessels powered by paddles or oars alone.

Always be courteous and pay attention, whether operating a vehicle or a vessel, and choose to be a sober driver on land and the water. A safe, fun weekend is the result of planning and good decisions.

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 cell phone. For road condition reports, travelers can visit www.statepatrol.dps.mo.gov and click on the Road Condition icon or call 1-888-275-6636.

Contributed by Missouri State Highway Patrol.