The Missouri State Highway Patrol is offering safety tips as Memorial Day weekend quickly approaches and the state continues to reopen from COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

“A safe, fun weekend starts with planning and good decisions,” a news release states. “Please remember to observe social distancing and other CDC guidelines, and stay home if you are ill. If your plans include driving or boating, choose to be courteous and obey all Missouri laws. Use a seat belt when you drive and wear a life jacket when you're on or near the water. Always pay attention, whether you're operating a vehicle or a vessel, and choose to be a sober driver on land and on the water.”

The patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness Reduction Effort) during the long holiday weekend. This means every available trooper will be on the road enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists.

Over the 2019 Memorial Day holiday weekend, eight people died and 433 were injured in 1,009 traffic crashes, according to a news release. Last year, troopers made 96 driving while intoxicated arrests. 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 speed violations.

Motorists are encouraged to do their part to make Missouri’s roadways safer by obeying all traffic laws and making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint.

The Memorial Day weekend is also an unofficial start to the boating season. 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.

Boaters are asked to be courteous to others on the water, 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. The patrol says citizens should also never operate a boat while impaired and never ride with an impaired operator.

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

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