Friday, June 27, 2008

The Slow Down Payoff? -- Money and Lives

Drive Carefully During The Busy Summer Travel Season

JEFFERSON CITY – With gas prices at an all-time high and thousands of Missourians hitting the highway for the three-day Independence Day holiday and summer travel season, there are two simple steps to save your money and your life – slow down and wear your seatbelt.

According to the U. S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town. The agency also estimates that drivers can assume that each 5 mph they drive above 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents per gallon for gas.

“The Fourth of July is the pinnacle of the summer travel season and the height of highway construction as well,” said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. “Traveling not only takes time and money, but can be deadly as well. In fact, the deadliest days of the year in terms of traffic crashes are the 100 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We urge all motorists to slow down, buckle up and ARRIVE ALIVE.”

The 100 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day are also the busiest time of the year for highway travel. Typically, vehicle traffic during this time increases an average of 3 percent. More vehicles on the roads mean more distractions for drivers and more possibilities for crashes – all the more reason to slow down and buckle up.

In addition to helping fight the cost of record-high gas prices, slowing down also increases the likelihood of surviving a crash. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a passenger vehicle in a high-speed crash is subjected to forces so severe that the vehicle structure cannot withstand the impact of the crash and maintain survival space in the occupant compartment.

Last year over the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 285 people were killed and 2,286 were injured. Seventy percent of those killed were not wearing a seat belt; 38 percent of those killed were involved in a crash where speed was a contributing factor.

“Although our employees won’t be working over the holiday, it’s still important to watch for narrow or closed lanes and reduced speed limits in work zones,” Rahn said.

Additional fuel savings tips are available at the U.S. Dept of Energy’s Web site, and other safety and crash information is available at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Web site at

This holiday, Drive Smart to Arrive Alive:

Slow Down! – Follow speed limits to save fuel and lives.
Buckle Up! – Every trip, every time – safety belts save lives.
Stay Alert! – Dedicate your full attention to the roadway.
Follow Signs! – They’ll guide you through work zones safely.
Expect the Unexpected! – Watch for flaggers, workers and equipment.
Pay Attention! – Turn the radio down and don’t use your cellular phone.
Be Patient! – Remember workers are improving the road for future travels.
Don’t Drink and Drive! – Impairment of any kind is unacceptable.
Be Nice! – Merge as directed, don’t tailgate and don’t change lanes in a work zone.

Be prepared this holiday and check out major construction projects in advance on or by calling MoDOT’s customer service centers at 1-888- ASK MODOT (275-6636).