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Patrol Working Over Holiday to Keep Travelers Safe

While most celebrate the four-day holiday weekend, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers work overtime during the busiest travel period of the year.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The official Thanksgiving holiday travel period began Wednesday. With gas prices lower than they've been during the past three Thanksgiving weekends, people were ready to head out for the holidays.

Whether by plane, train or automobiles, people were ready to get out of town.

According to AAA, more than 43 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles for the holiday weekend.

Locally, it's no different. Traffic on the Belt Highway Wednesday afternoon was brisk. It looked like many cut out of work early, ready for a four day weekend.

But while it's a holiday for most, it means overtime for the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"Pretty much everybody that works for the Highway Patrol that's a trooper is out there and working," said Sgt. Sheldon Lyon. "That's just to ensure a safe arrival as possible for motorists."

Your safe travel is the troopers' real goal, not just writing tickets to violators.

"What they don't know is we also stop and help a lot of people that for various reasons on on the side of the highway," Lyon said. "So make sure your car is ready to go."

Troopers won't be shy about writing tickets if you don't follow the rules including wearing seat belts, driving sober and traveling at a speed that appropriate for the conditions. With habits like that, Lyon says Missouri can continue its trend of a lower number of traffic deaths on the highways.

"We want to keep that trend going," he said. "We do that by being responsible when we drive and wearing out seatbelts, not hurrying."

Also a reminder that when you're out on the road, you're not alone.

"We all see I-29 and I-35 when the travel days come around and the highway is loaded with traffic," Lyon said. "It's going to take you a little more time to get there."

It's recommended that drivers remember *55 for their cell phones. That's the Highway Patrol's emergency number for cell phone users.

Dial that number toll free while you're on the roadways and your call will immediately be patched through to the nearest troop headquarters.

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