Many people will travel somewhere to enjoy the three-day holiday. Whether your plans will take place on land or on the water, Colonel J. Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, reminds Missouri’s travelers of the importance of safety during the upcoming July Fourth holiday.
The 2015 July Fourth holiday brings to mind sunshine, barbecues, friends, and fireworks—all of which are ways to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in this country. Americans are a diverse group, but this holiday represents what is universal about us. Many people will travel somewhere to enjoy the three-day holiday. Whether your plans will take place on land or on the water, Colonel J. Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, reminds Missouri’s travelers of the importance of safety during the upcoming July Fourth holiday.
In 2014, nine people were killed and 525 injured in Missouri over the holiday in 1,233 traffic crashes. One person was killed or injured every 10.8 minutes. Over the 2014 July Fourth holiday, troopers arrested 155 people for driving while intoxicated.
The 2015 counting period for the July Fourth holiday will be from 6 p.m., Friday, July 3, to 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 5.
The July Fourth weekend is also one of the quarterly DWI enforcement mobilization dates. Many of the troops have checkpoints and saturations scheduled for this period. Troopers have a zero tolerance for drinking and driving, whether on the road or on the water. Drinking and driving don't mix.
The Highway Patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) over the July Fourth holiday weekend. All available officers will be patrolling Missouri’s roadways enforcing Missouri’s traffic laws in addition to being available to assist motorists. There is never a good reason to drive over the speed limit. There is always a good reason to wear your seat belt. Drinking and driving don’t mix. Remember: Statutes direct motorists to drive with the highest degree of care. Please be a courteous driver and follow all traffic laws.
Troopers throughout the state will participate in a 20-Mile Trooper operation on Thursday, July 2, and Sunday, July 5, 2015. This operation will include Interstates 35, 44, 55, and 70, and U.S. Highways 60 and 63. Troopers will be highly visible while targeting all traffic violations, and be especially vigilant of aggressive driving violations.
Motorists who need assistance or who witness criminal activity while traveling on Missouri’s roadways can contact the nearest Highway Patrol troop headquarters by calling the Patrol Emergency Report Line at 1-800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone. Motorists may call 1-888-275-6636 to check for road construction or possible flooding along their travel route.
The Highway Patrol also reminds the public that the Fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest boating holidays of the year. In 2014, there were 21 boating crashes, which included 16 injuries and two fatalities. Four people drowned during last year's July Fourth holiday. One person drowned at Table Rock Lake in Stone County; one person drowned at Lake of the Ozarks in Camden County; one person drowned in the Castor River in Wayne County; and one drowned on private property in Maries County.
Troopers will be working on the state’s waters to ensure safety. Missouri’s boaters are asked to do their part by remaining alert for other boats and swimmers, and being courteous on the water. With more boats on the water, it is even more important to pay attention when operating your vessel.
· Distractions and alcohol consumption slow reaction time.
· Closely monitor the boats around you.
· Make evasive maneuvers early and deliberately.
The many firework displays after dark attract many more boaters at night.
At night, remember to:
· Check your vessel’s navigation lights before heading out, and be sure to have spare bulbs on board.
· Avoid overloading your boat with too many passengers. This can cause the boat to become swamped and affect the handling of the boat.
· Observe Missouri’s nighttime speed limit of 30 miles per hour on the water.
· Slow down and take your time. Nighttime crashes tend to involve more serious injuries and damage, due to the lack of visibility.
Finally, it is illegal to discharge fireworks from a vessel, so leave them in a safe place on shore.
"Motorists and boaters must make safety a priority every time they are behind the wheel. Drivers make sure your passengers wear their seat belts; boat captains should insist that everyone wear a lifejacket,” said Colonel Johnson. "Please be courteous whether operating a vehicle or a vessel. If your celebration includes alcohol, designate someone else to act as your sober chauffeur."