Highway Fatalities Down
Driving related deaths overall for 2006 decreased by 14 percent over the previous year. The Missouri Highway Patrol said the number one cause of traffic accidents is still distracted drivers. Speeding and drunk drivers are the other top causes.
"We've implemented several new enforcement campaigns dealing with aggressive driving, targeting speed, targeting alcohol related violations," Capt. Tim Hull, Missouri State Highway Patrol, said.
The highway patrol monitors traffic all year long but especially around the holidays when roads are more congested. Drivers can help prevent accidents by wearing seat belts and paying close attention to the road.
"You can have the smoothest roads in the world and if they don't pay attention and they're driving too fast, they're driving while impaired you're still going to have traffic crashes," Hull said.
The highway patrol and MODOT say although there is a decrease in crash related deaths, the numbers are still too high.
"Our goal is to have less than one-thousand by 2008, which of course last year we had over 1,200. So this year, yeah the numbers are going down, we're glad to see that but we need to keep working on it," Eric Schroeter from MODOT said.
The highway patrol says drunk driving related crashes are on the increase. And Missouri ranks 36th in seat belt use. Only about 75 percent of drivers in the state regularly use seat belts.