Drivers in the busy Interstate 29 and Barry Road area are going to want to be on their best behavior.
Starting Friday, the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Kansas City Police Department and the Platte County Sheriff's Office will begin a special traffic enforcement effort targeting unsafe driving in the area in an attempt to reduce the number of crashes. The crack down will last for several months.
"We are going to target every moving violation," said Sgt. Collin Stosberg, a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol's Troop A, which includes the Kansas City area. "Our goal is to keep people safe."
The stepped-up enforcement effort comes after there were a high number of crashes in the area in the past year, Stosberg said.
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With 263 crashes from March 2017 to March of this year, the area has become the highest crash location in Kansas City Police Department's North Patrol Division, according to a release from the department. The severity of the crashes range from property damage to fatalities.
Missouri is one of the few states in the region that has seen a reduction in fatalities, and authorities want to see that continue.
So law enforcement officers will patrol around the intersection and surrounding streets looking for speeders, distracted drivers and impaired drivers. They also will be watching for other risky behaviors like following too close, failing to signal and blocking an intersection, common contributing factors to crashes.
"Ninety-six percent of all crashes are from driver error," Stosberg said.
He said they will have zero tolerance for impaired and distracted driving as well as not wearing seat belts.
"We are still seeing far too many people not wearing their seat belts," Stosberg said.
Speeding in the area is also a problem. Many drivers exceed the 65 mph speed limit, he said.
"When we go to crashes, often times speed is the contributing factor in that area," Stosberg said. "It doesn't have to be 30 or 40 mph over the speed limit. I'm just talking about that person who was speeding 5 or 1 0 over. Had they been driving the speed limit, they could've avoided a crash."
Combine other factors like distracted and impaired driving, that's recipe for disaster, he said.
Just speeding and texting or reading your phone increases your chances for a crash.
"It's not if, it's when you're going find yourself in a traffic crash," Stosberg said.
Stosberg acknowledged that traffic tickets can become costly.
"Our goal is not to bankrupt people," he said. "We want people to be compliant. The worst part of what we do in law enforcement is death notifications."
Stosberg said he can't remember every interesting assignment he has had in his 21-year-career, but he can remember each of the 18 death notifications he has made.
It would be fantastic if they never had to write a ticket, he said.
"We don't want to write tickets; we don't want to work crashes," Stosberg said.