The July Fourth weekend is a great opportunity to enjoy one of Missouri’s national parks, recreational opportunities, lakes and rivers, or a backyard barbecue. Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, reminds Missouri’s travelers to make smart choices for a safe July Fourth holiday. Safety should be at the top of the list when planning how you’ll celebrate our nation’s freedoms. No matter how you decide to spend the long weekend, your smartest choice is to follow all Missouri traffic and boating laws.
During the 2020 counting period, 15 people were killed and 671 injured in Missouri over the holiday in 1,356 traffic crashes. Over the 2020 July Fourth holiday, troopers arrested 145 people for driving while intoxicated. In 2020, there were 14 boating crashes, which included seven injuries and zero fatalities. Two people drowned during last year’s July Fourth holiday. Troopers made six boating while intoxicated arrests over last year’s July Fourth holiday weekend.
The 2021 counting period for the July Fourth holiday will be from 6 p.m., Friday, July 2, to 11:59 p.m., Monday, July 5, 2020.
The Highway Patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness & Reduction Effort) and Operation Dry Water over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Operation Dry Water specifically targets impaired vessel operators. All available troopers will be patrolling Missouri roadways and waterways to enforce traffic and boating laws, and offering assistance as needed.
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 your vessel. Never operate a vessel if you’ve consumed alcohol. Boaters need to be aware that it is illegal to discharge fireworks from a vessel. Leave all fireworks in a safe place on shore. Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!
Anyone needing assistance or who witnesses criminal activity while traveling on Missouri’s roadways or waterways can contact the nearest Highway Patrol troop headquarters by calling the Patrol Emergency Report Line at 1-800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone. Motorists may call 1-888-275-6636 to check for road construction along their travel route.
Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, “If I could just go back …”