As drivers hit the roads for the holiday weekend, law enforcement steps up patrols

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MERRIAM, Kan. -- Travel experts say there will be more cars on the road this Memorial Day weekend than in the past decade. To keep drivers safe, police across the metro will be out in full force – starting Monday.

When you get in your car, make sure you put on your seatbelt, put away your cell phone and drive the speed limit. Over the next two weeks, officers will be on the lookout for dangerous drivers.

Memorial Day weekend is one of the most dangerous times of the year to be out on the roads.

Low gas prices coupled with a healthy economy means more people than in the past few years are expected to hit the roads this coming weekend.

The Click It or Ticket campaign has been a great success since it started in the 1980s – back then only around 11-percent of all drivers wore seatbelts.

Today, according to federal officials, around 90-percent of all drivers buckle up.

Seatbelts save lives, and the stats back it up.

In Kansas, the number of people killed in car crashes last year went up by 22-percent. In Missouri, fatal crashes are up by 9-percent. But when drivers who get in a crash wear a seatbelt, 93-percent of them walk away without injury.

According to KDOT, the most common causes of wrecks are inattention, animals in the road, right of way violations and following too closely. And the age groups most likely to get in a serious wreck are those between the ages of 15 and 24.

Police add that alcohol and speed also play factors in fatal car crashes.

If you have children, all kids under four should be in a car seat and kids between the ages of four-through-seven should be in a booster unless they weigh more than 80-pounds.