Missouri highway fatalities down overall, up in mid-Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports fatality rates are down about 40 percent from 2005, but central Missouri rates have increased from last year.

As of right now Missouri highways have seen 500 fewer fatalities on the roads compared to the 1,257 deaths in 2005. 

While Missouri highways overall are seeing a decline in fatalities, central Missouri highways are actually seeing an increase according to statistics.

Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety Director Leanna Depue said this could be due to central Missouri's low fatality rate last year. 

"They had an exceptionally low year last year, and so when you talk about trying to maintain a very very low year the next year, it may be more difficult to hit that same point," Depue said. 

Depue said several things contributed to the decline in highway fatalities. 

MoDOT has installed over 800 miles of guard cables on the highways which is estimated to save about 45 lives. It also installed 1,200 edge line and central line rumble stripes which is estimated to have saved over 100 lives. 

Along with these installations MoDOT has also added multiple J-turns, diverging diamonds, and roundabouts to help keep the highways safer. 

MoDOT has a goal of 700 or fewer fatalities by 2016.

Depue said strategies by engineers, enforcement officers, education, and emergency response teams help to keep the highways safer for travelers. She said the partnership between these teams has contributed greatly to the decline in fatalities so far. 

"That partnership is a very strong partnership in the state of Missouri, and we continue to look to each of those areas in order for us to make those reductions," Depue said.

MoDOT also warns people as the holiday season is upon us to stay safe on the roads. Travelers are encouraged to not drink and drink, always wear a safety belt, and not drive distracted. 

Depue said, "We want everyone to arrive alive at their destination, especially during the holiday season." 

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