Missouri recorded an increase in highway and waterway traffic and fatalities over Labor Day weekend. There were seven fatalities in car accidents in Missouri over the holiday weekend from a total of 248 traffic crashes.
Although the number of deaths matched the number from last year’s holiday, it was still an increase over a typical weekend. State Highway Patrol officers said that most accidents occurred on state highways, which saw the biggest increase in traffic due to the holiday. There were many factors that caused heavy traffic and accidents over the weekend.
“Well, one of the main reasons is obviously it’s the last major holiday of the year, so a lot of people are going out for maybe one last family trip or also the football season started this weekend, both high school and college, so that increased the number of people that were traveling on our highways,” Sergeant Paul Reinsch of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.
Missouri waterways also see an increase in traffic and accidents over Labor Day weekend. This year, nine boating accidents across the state left seven people injured. While the traffic can cause trouble in lakes and rivers, Lieutenant John Hotz of the Missouri Water Patrol Division said the patrol expects it.
“We do see some increased activities. We know this is kind of the last big holiday weekend of the summer so many people are out there enjoying Missouri waterways, usually lakes, rivers, or even some of the floatways,” Hotz said.
While the accident increase and heavy traffic are typical of the holiday weekend, it can be prevented according to Reinsch. Planning trips ahead of time and traffic rules can keep the number of accidents on the highway down. Hotz suggested that lake visitors watch out for other boats and people in the water, wear life jackets, and avoid drinking while driving in order to decrease the chances of accidents in the future.