To kick off the 2018 summer travel season, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is spearheading Border to Border (B2B), a one-day national seat belt awareness kickoff event.
The B2B event will be held Monday at the start of the annual Click It or Ticket Campaign, which runs through June 3 and covers the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Sandra Karsten said this will include a four-hour enforcement crackdown from 4-8 p.m. Monday. The focus of B2B is on nighttime hours when seat belt use is at its lowest. Authorities said nearly half, 48 percent, of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained. From 6 p.m.-5:59 a.m., that number went up to 56 percent of those killed.
During Click It or Ticket, Karsten said, participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a "no-excuses approach" to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In Missouri, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is $10.
"In 2016, 947 people died in Missouri traffic crashes, and 62 percent of the drivers and passengers killed were not wearing their seat belt," Karsten said. "Almost twice as many men were killed in crashes compared to women, and men have lower belt use rates, too. Of the men killed in crashes nationally in 2016, more than half, 52 percent, were unrestrained. For women killed in crashes, 40 percent were not buckled up."
The Highway Patrol also will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness Reduction Effort) during the holiday weekend. This means every available trooper will be on the road enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists. In addition, the patrol will assign troopers to 20-mile intervals along Interstates 29, 44, 55 and 70, and U.S. 60 and 61 on May 25 and May 28.
Last year, nine people died and 496 were injured in 1,122 traffic crashes in Missouri over the Memorial Day weekend. Troopers made 107 driving while intoxicated arrests.
The Memorial Day weekend is an unofficial start to the boating season in Missouri. Last year there were 15 boating crashes which included seven injuries and one fatality. Two people drowned, and troopers arrested 20 people for boating while intoxicated.