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Columbia police plan extra presence during holidays

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | 6:01 p.m. CST; updated 7:10 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — Officers from the Columbia Police Department will be conducting special traffic enforcement along Stadium Boulevard in a bid to reduce the number of accidents and the amount of road congestion in the area throughout the holiday season.

The enforcement operations will begin Friday and run until the end of the year.

Hazardous driving behavior, such as running red lights, passing on the shoulder and blocking intersections, will come under extra police scrutiny throughout the duration of the program.

Police said motorists should not enter an intersection unless they are able to drive completely through before the light changes to red. Those who remain in the intersection create gridlock and are considered to be in violation of the law.

More traffic accidents have been recorded at the intersection of Stadium Boulevard and Bernadette Drive than at any other intersection in Columbia, according to a news release from the Police Department.

The program in the Stadium Boulevard corridor coincides with the start of the holiday season, which police said normally results in a dramatic increase in road traffic.

Officer Chris Perkins of the Columbia Police Department Traffic Unit said the department carries out similar projects throughout the whole year.

Another special traffic enforcement operation on Interstate 70 was planned for Wednesday but was called off because of poor weather.

“We don’t want to be out there in the roadways causing traffic to accumulate,” Perkins said. “We’ll try to hold the operations on I-70 at some point, but not today.”

In the operation, Columbia police would work with officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Boone County Sheriff’s Office to clamp down on traffic violations such as speeding, following too closely and reckless driving. Officers will also target “move over” violations.

“When approached by an emergency vehicle with its red lights on, if possible, motorists should move over to another traffic lane or slow down and proceed with caution,” said Perkins, citing Missouri state law.

He added that speeding and move over offenses represent the most frequently recorded traffic violations.

In a news release, the Columbia Police Department reminded motorists to leave extra time for travel and be mindful of changing weather conditions.


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