COLUMBIA, Mo. -

The Columbia Police department stopped more than 300 drivers and issued nearly 40 tickets in a safety checkpoint Thursday afternoon.

The checkpoint lasted from 2 to 5 p.m. at the intersection of Bearfield and Prescott in South Columbia. It's part of an effort to reduce the number of drivers on the road without a valid license or proof of insurance.

"A lot of crashes we see sometimes, there's even national studies that support it, it shows that a lot of people involved in traffic crashes don't have a valid license, and also someone who doesn't have insurance is also a concern," said Sgt. Curtis Perkins, Traffic Unit Supervisor with the Columbia Police Department.

Sgt. Perkins told ABC 17 the location is not shy to traffic violations. Statistics from CPD show in the last two years, 3,505 crashes happened within a three-mile radius of the checkpoint. In that number, 216 crashes were injury-related and four were fatal.

During the same time period, numbers show police issued 135 citations for various driver's license violations and 26 tickets for no insurance in that area.

During the checkpoint, officers handed out 37 tickets, including two for not having a valid driver's license, 21 for no proof of insurance, 10 for not wearing a seat belt, one for driving with a revoked or suspended license, two for driving an unlicensed vehicle and one for not having proper child restraints. The department also issued 14 warnings to drivers.

"A safety checkpoint gives us the opportunity to interact with the community and shows that we're being proactive; That we're out here trying to make a difference in our community," Sgt. Perkins said.

A grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation Division of Highway Safety funded the checkpoint. At least 11 officers helped during the duration of the event.

Sgt. Perkins said the department hosted a safety checkpoint back in May and plans to do at least one more before the end of this year.