Patrols underway for Fourth of July weekend

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Feature - saturation, drunk driving, dwiLaw enforcement agencies are out in full-force over the Independence Day holiday.

According to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to substance-impaired driving crashes.

It said law enforcement will be out in full force July 3-5 seeking impaired drivers through increased sobriety checkpoints, roving and saturation patrols and other enforcement methods.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is taking part in a special enforcement operation Friday and Monday in Troop H. During this operation, which will be conducted on Interstate 35 throughout the Troop H area, troopers will be assigned 20-mile sections of Interstate 35 to provide additional manpower during the peak travel days of the holiday period.

Captain James E. McDonald, commanding officer of Troop H, St. Joseph, said Troop H officers will also be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. during the 2016 July Fourth holiday weekend. Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) is a national traffic enforcement program aimed at making holiday weekends safer. During this enforcement operation, all available troopers will be patrolling Missouri highways an aggressively enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorist with any emergency situations.

“One fatality on our highways is too many, and there is no excuse for driving while you are impaired,” said Colonel J. Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Over the 2015 July holiday, 14 people were killed and 46 were seriously injured in Missouri traffic crashes. Three of the fatalities and eight serious injuries involved a substance-impaired driver. “Impaired driving is an intentional, conscious decision, and it is preventable – always choose a sober designated driver,” said Johnson.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety recommends these simple tips to avoid an impaired-driving disaster:

Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
If you happen to see an impaired driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call 911 or *55.
Always wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense in any traffic crash.