Last Independence Day, 12 people died in traffic accidents in Missouri, doubling the number from 2005. The Missouri State Highway Patrol hopes this year’s annual holiday traffic enforcement will help keep the number down.
“We put more officers out there in the hope that motorists will slow down when they see us,” said Capt. Tim Hull, the patrol’s public information director.
Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, a nationwide campaign timed to busy travel periods, starts tonight and ends at midnight Thursday.
“We put all officers, even those in administration, on the road at some time during the holiday,” Hull said, “especially during the heaviest and most dangerous times.”
Hull said the heaviest traffic will occur tonight, lightening on the following days as people return home.
“Most jobs will not give employees the weekend off, so many people are leaving around the same time Tuesday,” Hull said.
Last year, Boone County ranked ninth in crashes in Missouri during the 2006 holiday with 32 accidents. Columbia matched Branson with the seventh highest number of crashes in the state, 17. Higher on the list were St. Louis, Kansas City and the surrounding cities.
Although several fatalities occurred on rural roads last year, the operation will focus on highways in Missouri.