Friday, August 15, 2008

MO Lives Saved on Missouri Roads

JEFFERSON CITY -- Over the last two years, Missouri has seen a 21 percent decrease in traffic deaths – the second-largest percentage decrease in the nation. South Dakota had the largest percentage decrease at 21.5 percent.

Missouri’s traffic deaths decreased from 1,257 in 2005, to1,096 in 2006 and finally to 992 in 2007. Currently, Missouri traffic deaths year-to-date for 2008 have declined by seven percent.

A large part of the reduction is attributed to the state and regional efforts of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. The coalition is a large group of safety advocates who banded together in 2004 to create Missouri’s Blueprint for Safer Roadways to attack the problem of traffic crashes and deaths. Strategies include increased law enforcement activity, engineering improvements and educational programs.

Within the Blueprint, Missouri’s fatality reduction goal was set at “1,000 or fewer fatalities by 2008.” The coalition met that goal one year early.

“The power of partnerships and a single vision have proven effective. Law enforcement, engineering and education – all of these factors are working together to save lives, and we’re thrilled to see the results,” said Leanna Depue, chair of the coalition’s executive committee.

Nationally, the number of people who died on the nation’s roads reached historically low levels in 2007, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, the overall number of traffic fatalities in the nation fell to 41,059 – a 3.9 percent decline from 2006, and the lowest number of traffic deaths since 1994.

“When more people take the time to buckle up, pay attention and drive sober, more motorists in Missouri will Arrive Alive,” said Depue.

The coalition continues to work toward the passage of a primary safety belt law in Missouri, which would save an additional 90 lives and prevent more than 1,000 serious injuries each year.

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