Seeing Results On The Road
On Highway 50 and across the state, road workers are keeping Missouri roadways free of the junk that could cause accidents. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said there were 161 fewer fatalities on Missouri roadways in 2006 compared to 2005, a decrease of 13 percent.
The people who build Missouri highways and those who patrol them said they were elated with the numbers. Missouri boasts the biggest drop in highway fatalities.
"In the first six months of the year, so far, we're down 16 percent over where we were last year, so we're thrilled that the numbers are going in the right direction," Missouri State Highway Patrol Lt. John Hotz said.
Officials would like to see the numbers be even lower.
"Our goal over the last couple of years has been to reduce fatalities to 1,000 or less by the year 2008," MoDOT Outreach coordinator Sandra Hentges said.
MoDOT attributes some of the decline in fatalities to its projects statewide. The agency said cable medians, which cover nearly 500 miles of interstate, have reduced crossover deaths by 56 percent.
Meanwhile, the Highway Patrol credited increased enforcement.
"We're trying to focus our enforcement efforts on areas where we have problems," Hotz said. "Where we have a high number of traffic crashes, or high number of traffic violations, we know if we can reduce the number of traffic violations we can eventually reduce the number of crashes that we have as well."
Whether traveling out on the highway, or just across town, safety officials said one of the easiest ways to make sure you stay safe while driving is to make sure you take the time to buckle up. Both the highway patrol and MoDOT said drivers need to continue their safe driving habits to help keep the roads safe.
MoDOT said other projects including the installation of rumble stripes, those grates which make a loud noise if you veer off the road, are also decreasing accidents. They say the improvements have reduced run-off-the-road accidents by 18 percent.
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