December 13, 2001

Patrol Gearing Up For Heavy Holiday Highway Traffic

The sights and sounds of the holidays are all around us. Decorating, shopping, eating, and visiting are all things Missourians will enjoy during the Christmas, and New Year's holidays. It is the last item, the visiting that concerns the Missouri State Highway Patrol the most as the holiday season always brings heartache as well because of traffic accidents.

Last year over the Christmas holiday, there were 1,100 traffic crashes. In those crashes, 10 people were killed and another 371 were injured. This year's traffic crash counting period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, December 21 and ends

at 11:50 p.m. Tuesday, December 25, 2001.

The Patrol encourages travelers to remember to wear seat belts, pay attention to the task of driving, and ask all to avoid drinking and driving.

If faced with a traffic emergency, motorists can contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 1-800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone. This

emergency number will ring into the nearest Highway Patrol headquarters. Motorists should use this number if they are in a traffic crash, witness a crash or crime, or pass a stranded motorist in need of assistance, etc.

"Additional officers will be on Missouri's roadways," said Colonel Roger D. Stottlemyre. "Their focus will be enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists as needed."

The New Year's traffic crash counting period will be from 6 p.m. December 28, 2001 and ends at 11:59 p.m. January 1, 2002. Last year, 12 people were killed and 384 injured in 1,207 traffic crashes over this holiday.

"If you have plans to celebrate the New Year, please remember to drive safely and choose a designated driver if alcohol is part of your party," stated Stottlemyre. "Drunk drivers take too many lives every year in Missouri and our nation. These deaths can be prevented if people drink responsibly. Call a cab, spend the night, designate a sober chauffeur ... But, don't drink and drive."

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