Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, and our Springfield car accident lawyers want to remind you to make roadway safety a priority during the busy holiday. According to a recent report from AAA, 36.1 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles over the three-day weekend, with 31.8 million traveling by car. It stands to reason that auto accidents are more likely when there are more vehicles on the road - and this is especially true during holiday weekends, when alcohol-impaired drivers are also more common.
Here in Missouri, Memorial Day tends to be one of the heaviest traveled holidays, and the Highway Patrol is taking steps to help prevent auto accidents this year. During the 2014 Memorial Day weekend (May 23 - May 26), the Highway Patrol will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). During the operation, troopers will be assigned to 20-mile intervals on Interstates 29, 44, 55, and 70, and U.S. Highways 60 and 63. These troopers will be on the lookout for all traffic offenses, especially those involving aggressive driving, seat belt use, child safety seat use, driving under the influence and speeding. The Patrol says every available officer will be on the road over the three-day weekend.
"I encourage every driver--of a vehicle or a vessel--to be courteous and pay attention," said Colonel Ron Replogle, Highway Patrol Superintendent, in a recent news release. "Please, DON'T drink and drive. We want all of you to have a safe, enjoyable holiday weekend."
Facts about Memorial Day weekend and Missouri car accidents
• Nationwide, an average of 161 people are killed per day over the three-day holiday weekend each year. Approximately 40% of those fatalities are a result of drunk driving.
• During Memorial Day weekend 2013, six people were killed and 389 suffered injuries in 951 auto accidents throughout Missouri. 129 people were also arrested for driving under the influence.
Memorial Day weekend safety tips for Springfield drivers
• Buckle up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in five Americans fail to wear seat belts regularly when driving or riding in motor vehicles - and men between the ages of 18 and 34 are less likely to buckle up than other age groups. Between May 19 and June 1, NHTSA will conduct its "Click it or Ticket" campaign nationwide: click here to learn more about why seat belt use is so important.
• Don't drink and drive. If your Memorial Day celebration includes alcohol, make plans in advance: designate a sober driver, hire a car service, or arrange to stay where you are. Never get behind the wheel after consuming any amount of alcohol.
• Avoid risky driving behaviors. In addition to driver impairment, the Highway Patrol says speed and inattention are common contributing factors in accidents statewide. Obey all traffic laws, be courteous to other motorists, and don't engage in any activities that divert your attention away from the primary task of driving.
• Call the Highway Patrol if you need help. If you are in need of assistance or you wish to report a crime, call the Patrol's Emergency Assistance number: 1-800-525-5555, or *55 from your cell phone.