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DES PERES, MO (KTVI)- Missouri State Highway Patrol officials say over the 4-day Labor Day weekend, they will be initiating Operation C.A.R.E.—that’s Combined Accident Reduction Effort.

In the St. Louis area it will roll-out on interstates 44, 55, and 70.

Sgt. Al Nothum is a Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman.

Sgt. Nothum said, “And they’re going to be zero-ing in on those sections of interstates in our Troop C area, looking for the aggressive driver– the speeder, the drunk driver, just aggressive driving, period.”

And MSHP officials are issuing a perennial plea for safe driving.

“Don’t follow too close,” said Sgt. Nothum. “And for heaven’s sake, don’t drink and drive. And when you’re out there driving make sure you buckle your seatbelt, because that save lives. If you are in a crash, that’s going to give you that fighting chance in of surviving.”

Sgt. Nothum was asked about a recent statistic that indicates fatalities on Missouri roadways are up six-percent over last year.

“At one point fatalities were up,” said Nothum. “But I just checked the most recent number two days ago, and we were almost even compared to last year at this time, which is good. That means we’ve had a reduction over the past couple months.”

That’s progress.

“That’s progress,” agreed Nothum, “but we need to cut it down. Eight-hundred to 850 men, women, and children dying in a state like Missouri is way too much.”

MSHP officials say last year 10 people were killed and 508 were injured in Missouri over the Labor Day weekend in 1,094 crashes. And the number-1 cause of crashes remains… distracted driving.