The Missouri State Highway Patrol says all available officers will be patrolling roadways tonight and during the Fourth of July, enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists.

Patrol Captain John Hotz says the 2018 counting period for the holiday is 30 hours: from Tuesday evening at 6 until 11:59 tomorrow night.

“We will again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., which is the crash awareness reduction effort to do whatever we can to reduce the number of crashes on the highways,” Hotz says.

Hotz says 26 people were killed and another 469 were injured in Missouri during the 2017 holiday counting period, which was 102 hours.

“That’s (26) been the highest number that I can remember in the almost 29 years that I’ve been here,” says Hotz. “So last year was a particularly deadly year, it was a longer period but still 26 people killed during that timeframe is just a very high number.”

Captain Hotz says one crash during last year’s holiday killed four people, while another was a triple fatality accident.

Troopers also made 172 arrests for driving while intoxicated during the 2017 holiday.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says there’s never a good reason to drive over the speed limit. They also remind motorists to use their seat belts.

Missouri State Highway Patrol boat (July 2017 file photo courtesy of the MSHP)

Meantime, Missouri state troopers will also be visible on the state’s waterways today and on the Fourth, enforcing boating laws and helping where needed.

Hotz says the Fourth of July is one of the busiest boating holidays of the year.

“We always encourage people if alcohol is going to be part of their celebration, to make sure and designate a sober operator of that boat,” Hotz says.

Hotz says there were nine boating crashes in Missouri during the 2017 holiday, which included one fatality.

One person also drowned last year.

Hotz also tells Missourinet it’s illegal to discharge fireworks from a boat. He also notes tomorrow night’s fireworks displays will attract many more boaters at night.

Boaters are encouraged to wear life jackets.


Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz, which was recorded on June 29, 2018:

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