JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is dedicated to saving more lives and reducing serious injuries occurring on our roadways. Today the number of fatalities has increased in comparison to the same time last year. The organization released the newest edition of a strategic highway safety plan called "Missouri's Blueprint to Save More Lives," to help keep these numbers down.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Lieutenant John Hotz said the top three traffic crash fatalities are due to distracted driving, speeding, and alcohol.
"The biggest thing though, as far as saving lives, is if we could get people to just do one thing and that is put your seat belt on," said Hotz. "We could easily save 50 percent of all the people that are killed each year on Missouri highways."
The mission of the blueprint is to make travel on Missouri roadways safer through a partnership of committed local, state, federal, public and private organizations. The goal is set to reduce traffic fatalities to 700 by 2016. This blueprint also concentrates on a higher vision, continuously moving Missouri toward zero roadway deaths.
Between 2005 and 2011, Missouri experienced a 38 percent fatality reduction, resulting in a total of 2,009 lives saved. Today, there are 705 traffic crash fatalities, which is a six percent increase from 2011.
"We had populations this year that don't normally drive during the winter time," MoDOT Highway Safety Director Leanna Depue said. "In the first three months we had over 100 percent increase in the number of people killed both motorcyclists and older adults."
Throughout the document, there are strategies to reduce the number of roadway fatalities. The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is implementing the key strategies with engineering, enforcement, and educational solutions.
"It only takes three seconds to buckle up, but dead is forever," said Hotz. "And those three seconds, that you take to put that seat belt on, could be the difference between life and death."