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(LISTEN): Missouri law enforcement officers have strong presence on lakes and roads this weekend

(LISTEN): Missouri law enforcement officers have strong presence on lakes and roads this weekend

A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper patrols the Lake of the Ozarks in May 2023 (file photo courtesy of Patrol Captain John Hotz)

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says every available state trooper is on the roads and waterways today and will be for the entire Labor Day weekend, enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists.

State Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz says seven motorists died and another approximately 400 were injured in about 1,000 crashes during Missouri’s 2022 Labor Day holiday.

“We know there’s going to be a tremendous amount of traffic. This is the unofficial end of summer. We know everybody’s going to be traveling. And so again, we look at the causes and we see the same thing: speed, inattention and impaired driving continue to be the leading causes of crashes, even during the holiday time,” Captain Hotz says.

A Missouri state trooper patrols a mid-Missouri highway (2023 file photo courtesy of Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz)

The Highway Patrol is participating in Operation C-A-R-E all weekend. That stands for crash awareness and reduction effort. Troopers are looking for speeding and aggressive driving. Captain Hotz encourages you to check your vehicle before you leave and to drive the speed limit.

“We just encourage people to number one know there’s going to be additional traffic. So allow yourself a little extra time, be courteous, watch for other drivers out there. Of course, that speed limit is very important,” says Hotz.

Many Missourians are heading to the Lake of the Ozarks, Mark Twain lake and other lakes for a final summer bash. Captain Hotz encourages boaters to be courteous on the water and to remain alert for other boats and swimmers.

“Make sure you’re paying attention for the other boats that are out there. The increased traffic, maybe more swimmers, more people in kayaks and those types of things. Just be aware of the additional traffic and know that what you do in the boat has a lot of affects on others who are out there using the lake with you,” Captain Hotz says.

The Patrol’s holiday counting period runs from 6 this (Friday) evening through 11:59 on Monday night. Captain Hotz says one boater was killed and another five injured in eight boating crashes in Missouri during last year’s Labor Day holiday weekend.