The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.

 

Published August 29, 2018

Safety first on Labor Day weekend

LAKE OF THE OZARKS – As the unofficial end of summer is upon the lake area, the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) is asking people to put safety first on the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Colonel Sandra K. Karsten, superintendent of the MSHP, urges Missouri’s travelers to drive and boat responsibly during the 2018 Labor Day weekend.

“Whether you are driving or boating, safety must be at the forefront of your plans,” Karsten said.

In Missouri, 11 people died and 265 were injured in 941 traffic crashes over the 2017 Labor Day holiday. That means one person was killed or injured every 12.4 minutes.

Of that total, troopers worked 313 traffic crashes, which included 130 injuries and eight of the fatalities over the 2017 Labor Day holiday.

Troopers arrested 142 people for driving while intoxicated during last year’s holiday weekend.

The 2018 counting period for the Labor Day holiday will be from 6 p.m., Friday, August 31, through 11:59 p.m., Monday, September 3, 2018.

The Highway Patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness & Reduction Effort) over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Speed, inattention, and impaired driving are leading causes of traffic crashes, the MSHP stated, thus, all available troopers will be patrolling Missouri’s roadways enforcing Missouri’s speed limit, seat belt, and impaired driving laws, in addition to being available to assist motorists.

But on the lake, safety is also the number one priority.

In 2016, there were 10 boating crashes which included zero fatalities and 10 injuries. There were no drownings over last year’s Labor Day holiday.

Troopers arrested 12 people for boating while intoxicated during last year's counting period.

In an effort to increase safety on the state’s waters, all available officers will be working over the holiday weekend.

Missouri’s boaters are asked to do their part by remaining alert for other boats and swimmers and being courteous on the water. With more boats on the water, it is even more important to pay attention when operating a vessel.

“Remember: Never operate a vessel while you are impaired,” a MSHP spokesman said. “Alcohol consumption slows reaction time. Avoid overloading your boat with too many passengers and pay close attention to the boats around you. Check your vessel’s navigation lights before heading out at night, be sure to have spare bulbs on board, and observe Missouri's nighttime speed limit of 30 mph on the water.”

Causing harm to another person or their property with an excessive boat wake may subject the violator to enforcement action or civil liability.

“Treat other boaters and property owners as you want to be treated,” the spokesman said.

“I urge everyone to plan a safe 2018 Labor Day holiday,” said Colonel Karsten. “Use a seat belt in a vehicle or a life jacket when you're on or near the water. No matter what you are operating - a vehicle or a vessel - be a courteous driver and obey all applicable laws."

The public is encouraged to call the Patrol's Emergency Report Line 800-525-5555 or *55 on your cellular phone if they witness criminal activity or experience an emergency.

These emergency numbers are operational for both highway and water emergencies.

If you feel your celebration requires the use of alcohol, designate someone else to drive whether you are in your boat or your car.

“Please don’t become a statistic,” the spokesman said.

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