JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Coronavirus concerns haven’t slowed down Missouri drivers.
In fact, the state reports an increase in speeding and fatal crashes this year.
That’s why, this Memorial Day weekend in particular, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is focusing on visibility and enforcement to help drivers reach their destinations without any trouble.
Drivers are expected to flock to Missouri’s interstates with stay-at-home orders lifted.
“People are anxious to get out,” MSHP Lt. Collin Stosberg said.
The hope is that drivers will make smarter decisions.
Last year during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, there were more than 1,000 crashes on Missouri highways and nearly 100 driving while intoxicated arrests. Eight people were killed.
“Nothing worse from our perspective than going to a bad crash where someone has been injured or killed and having to tell one of those family members that their loved one is not coming home,” Stosberg said.
And even with less traffic this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and cautious residents, more drivers are hitting triple digits on the radar.
“We’ve seen almost a 60% increase in speed over 100 mph with the open roadways that we anticipate more traffic and congestion, so that’s not acceptable,” Stosberg said.
And the state reports a 6% increase in deadly crashes in 2020, compared to last year.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol will have every available trooper working across the state this weekend.
“We want everyone to wear that seat belt,” Stosberg said. “If you’re on the water, wear that life jacket. If your plans include alcohol, make sure you plan ahead and make good choices.”
The patrol said one of those good choices is staying home if you’re sick. And for the first time during a major holiday weekend, Missouri drivers will see message board encouraging social distancing.