JEFFERSON CITY - MoDot announced Tuesday the number of traffic fatalities in Missouri is down 78 from last year at this time. So far, 2013 has seen 630 fatalities statewide.
While MoDot District Engineer, David Silvester said the number is getting better, it isn't low enough.
"Our goal is to have zero fatalities," Silvester said. "I think a lot of folks would look at that and go well is that even possible? But the question we ask folks is if zero is not possible, how many in your family would be acceptable?"
Silvester couldn't say what exactly is causing the decrease, but many factors could play a part.
"We're doing doing some improvements with our roads, some of our lower level roads where we see a lot of fatalities," Silvester said. "We're adding shoulders to those. Even if we can get a two foot shoulder. Even if we can get a two foot shoulder on a very minor road, we've vastly improved the safety of that road."
MoDot is also adding guard cables along medians to prevent drivers from crossing over lanes and driving into oncoming traffic."
Silvester said even with the winter season approaching, MoDot isn't expecting a spike in fatalities.
"The roads can be treacherous and people actually take note of that and they'll slow down how they're driving," Silvester said. "If somebody were to slide off the road, they can slide into snow in the ditch and that's a little bit more forgiving."
Of the 630 fatalities so far this year, 115 of them are from drivers under the age of 21. This year, 433 of those 630 fatalities were the drivers of the vehicles and 135 of them passengers.
Silvester said about 63 percent of fatalities were those not wearing seat belts.
"Sixty-three percent ranks very high in the nation as far as unbuckled folks who are in accidents where those fatalities are involved," Silvester said.
Silvester stressed that drivers and passengers should always be buckled. Once the winter season begins drivers should avoid distractions and add more distance between them and other cars.