Our Opinion: Deadly trend precedes holiday weekend

Proceed with C.A.R.E.

Travelers and water sports enthusiasts are being advised to comply with the laws and observe safety precautions during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The Missouri Highway Patrol will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), which puts every available officer on the road to enforce traffic laws and assist motorists.

But law enforcement alone cannot reverse the deadly trend on our roadways so far this year.

Missouri now is experiencing an 18 percent increase in traffic deaths compared with the same time period last year.

And if the coming Memorial Day holiday weekend reflects last year, the terrible toll will continue. During the three-day counting period in 2011, four people died and 415 were injured in 1,019 traffic crashes. Those numbers translate into one person killed or injured every 11.2 minutes.

In addition, 133 motorists were arrested for DWI during last year’s holiday weekend.

The roadways, however, are not the only source of potential danger. Memorial Day traditionally marks the unofficial start of summer activities, including boating and water sports.

Last year’s extended weekend recorded 10 boating accidents, two drownings and 23 arrests for boating while intoxicated.

Our aim in reminding readers of these statistics is not to spoil anyone’s fun.

But there is nothing fun about being injured or killed in accidents, frequently caused by carelessness, inattention and intoxication.

Practice courtesy and patience while driving. Enjoy recreation on the waterways without being reckless. And when you consume alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel of a vehicle or boat.

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