Col. Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, recognizes Memorial Day weekend is highly anticipated, especially after these last few months under stay-home orders.
A safe, fun holiday weekend however, starts with planning and good decisions, he said in a release.
"Please remember to observe social distancing and other CDC guidelines, and stay home if you are ill," the release states.
If plans include driving or boating, the patrol recommends obeying all Missouri laws, using a seat belt when in a vehicle and wearing a life jacket when on or near the water. It also recommends always paying attention whether operating a vehicle or a vessel and choosing to be a sober driver on land and on the water.
The Patrol will be participating in Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort during the 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 (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 (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 driving-while-intoxicated arrests. 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.
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. Troopers will focus their attention on seat belt use, use of child safety seats, impaired drivers, hazardous moving violations and speeding.
"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," the release states.