This Fourth of July, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is again reminding motorists to make safety a priority during their holiday travel. For the 35th consecutive year, MSP troopers are joining other state police and highway patrol agencies in the international traffic safety initiative, Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).

"Our goal is to prevent the traffic crashes that lead to serious injuries and fatalities by utilizing a strict enforcement stance on drivers who are operating under the influence of alcohol, not using proper restraints or exhibiting distracted or drowsy driving behaviors," stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. "The Michigan State Police was one of the founding members of Operation C.A.R.E. 35 years ago, and we're pleased to continue to support this internally recognized traffic safety initiative."

The official Fourth of July holiday period begins at 6 p.m. this evening and runs through midnight on Sunday, July 8, 2012. Last year, eight fatal traffic crashes resulted in eight deaths over the four-day holiday weekend.

C.A.R.E. began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police and is one of the nation's longest-running traffic safety initiatives. Today, it includes state and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Royal Candian Mounted Police and others.