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

A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper patrols the Lake of the Ozarks (2019 photo courtesy of Patrol Lt. Collin Stosberg)

Patrol Lieutenant Collin Stosberg is urging you to exercise care on the road.

“Drive the speed limit, be courteous, follow traffic laws and never drink and drive,” Stosberg says.

Missouri state troopers say the Fourth of July holiday weekend is historically one of the deadliest ones on the road because of alcohol. Lieutenant Stosberg says four people died and another 220 suffered injuries in Missouri traffic crashes during the 2018 holiday.

“If everyone wore their seat belt, (if) no one would drink and drive, if motorcyclists wear their helmet and people would obey those traffic laws, we would have zero fatalities,” says Stosberg.

The Highway Patrol says an Independence Day DWI enforcement operation will take place during the entire holiday weekend. Troopers are enforcing all Missouri statutes, including driving while intoxicated and underage drinking.

The 2019 holiday counting period begins Wednesday evening at 6 and goes through 11:59 Sunday night.

Meantime, the Patrol says the Fourth holiday weekend is also one of the busiest boating holidays of the year. Lieutenant Stosberg is urging boaters to be alert for other boats and for swimmers.

“If you’re out (on the water) at night, that seems to be the deadliest crashes,” Stosberg says. “Make sure your navigation lights are on.”

Stosberg also notes evening fireworks displays attract additional night boaters.

Just last weekend, two boats collided at night at the Lake of the Ozarks, killing 39-year-old Jason Russell of mid-Missouri’s Eugene.

Lake traffic is expected to be heavy this weekend. Missourinet Versailles affiliate KTKS (FM 95.1) reports more than 250,000 are expected to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with Missouri State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Collin Stosberg, which was recorded on July 2, 2019:

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