If you drive on I-70 this weekend, you’re going to notice a lot of police officers. It’s part of an enforcement project that will be making its way to other parts of the state over the next two months.
The Highway Safety Division has resurrected its program, called ‘The Heat is on.’ It aims to up enforcement during a 70-day span from June to September. Lt. John Hotz with the Missouri Highway Patrol says that time period is historically the most deadly.
“In the summertime there are a lot of people who are traveling from one destination to another and whenever we see that increase in traffic; ultimately we see an increase in the number of fatalities,” Hotz said.
The program had success in the 1990’s, and was brought back last year. Hotz says it contributed to the state’s fourth year in a row with a decrease in traffic fatalities.
“Some of the activities are funded by the Missouri Division of Highway Safety. They actually provide grant opportunities to not only (Highway) Patrol, but to the local city and county departments as well,” Hotz said.
The program runs from June 21st-Sept. 21st. The first major operation starts today, with two-day corridor project on I-70; putting officers on the highway across the length of the state. There will be similar efforts on I-44 Sept. 18-19, and on I-270 throughout the summer.
“Our normal enforcement that we do on a regular basis will be supplemented with overtime projects where we may have saturations in a particular area, looking for aggressive drivers, speeding driver, careless drivers, and of course drunk drivers,” Hotz said.
But Lt. John Hotz with the Missouri Highway Patrol says there will be increased enforcement efforts on a regular basis in all areas of the state.
“Each area has its particular problem; maybe speeding drivers in one area, inattentive drivers in another area, drunk drivers in a third area. Of course each time we make a traffic stop we’re always looking to make sure those occupants are wearing their seatbelts, or if they have small children that they’re properly restraining those children,” Hotz said.
239 people died in car accidents on Missouri roads during the stretch from July-September last year. Another 1,847 suffered disabling injuries.