WHAT OTHERS SAY: Labor Day weekend calls for higher attention to safety

Thursday, August 30, 2012 | 5:55 p.m. CDT

Slow down the statistics.

During last year’s Labor Day weekend, someone was killed or injured every 10.3 minutes on Missouri roadways.

The frequency of that dreadful toll translates into 13 fatalities and 443 injuries in 952 traffic crashes during the three-day weekend.

We can and we must do better.

All available Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers will be participating during the holiday weekend in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).

The troopers will be enforcing speed limit, seat belt and alcohol laws. Last year, troopers arrested 175 people for driving while intoxicated during the holiday weekend.

In addition to targeting violations, particularly aggressive driving, troopers will be available to assist motorists.

Travelers who need assistance or witness criminal activity are encouraged to contact the nearest troop headquarters by calling the Patrol Emergency Report Line at 800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellphone.

The roadways are not the only venue where law enforcement officers will be monitoring activity and enforcing state laws.

Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the end of boating and recreation season on the state’s waterways.

Last year, two people died and 10 were injured in seven boating crashes during the extended holiday weekend.

What make these statistics so regrettable is that many of them are preventable.

Attentiveness, sobriety and obeying laws helps prevent crashes, on roadways and waterways.

And, when accidents occur, seat belts in vehicles and life jackets on watercraft help prevent or lessen injuries and deaths.

Even more regrettable is we all know these fundamental facts, but knowledge all too often fails to become action.

“Enjoy the last big weekend of summer,” said Col. Ronald Replogle, patrol superintendent, “but please don’t become a statistic.”

This weekend, that’s something to consider, about every 10 minutes or so.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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