Holiday driving

The statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, reported below on this page, are sobering. During the Memorial Day holiday weekend last year, there were 1,094 traffic crashes on Missouri highways. Eleven people died, and 477 were injured.

Using seat belts is automatic for many motorists. But accident statistics still point to injuries and deaths that might have been avoided if drivers and their passengers had been using seat belts.

Missouri laws require children under 4 years old and under 40 pounds to ride in a federally approved seat that is appropriate for the child's age and size. Children ages 4 through 7 who weigh more than 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds or are not at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall must ride in an appropriate child car seat or booster seat. Children ages 8 to 18 must wear a seat belt.

The perils of driving while intoxicated and speeding speak for themselves. The risks increase exponentially when drunken drivers exceed the speed limit. And the risks of drunks going faster than the speed limit with young children who aren't properly protected are unbelievably high.

Protect yourself and your family this Memorial Day weekend. Drive safely. Drive like your life depended on it.