Patrol Reports Least Lethal Christmas on Record

8 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Monday, December 27 2010 Dec 27, 2010 Monday, December 27, 2010 6:06:54 PM CST December 27, 2010 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Monday it recorded just three traffic deaths in the state over the Christmas weekend--the lowest for a 78-hour holiday period since the patrol began keeping records in 1978. One fatality took place in the Lee's Summit area Sunday, another happened on Highway 65 in Benton County the same day, and the third person died today as a result of a weekend accident. The patrol also reported that this year has been the lowest in car accident fatalities since the creation of the reports in 1978.

Lieutenant John Hotz said that an increase in DWI arrests could have been a reason for the sharp decline.

"We made more DWI arrests this year than last year so certainly we know that taking those drunk drivers off the roads saves lives."

However, Hotz also believes in giving credit where credit is due.

"But we also have to give the individual drivers credit as well. Ultimately it comes down to the drivers making the right decisions."

In a news release, patrol superintendent Col. Ron Replogle said, "The Missouri State Highway Patrol would like the emphasize the decrease in crashes, injuries, and fatalities during the 2010 Christmas holiday counting period. Enforcement and education are two important factors in reducing the number of people killed and injured on Missouri's roadways. The Patrol will continue to focus on both of these areas to make travel in our state safer."

St. Louis resident Donna Trefney said she didn't see as many drivers on the road as usual for the Christmas weekend, and that the rising price of gas could be a reason why.

In 1996, only one person died over the Christmas holiday, but that was a 30-hour counting period.  In 2002, two people died, but that was another 30-hour counting period.  This year's record low occurred during a 78-hour counting period that ran through the weekend.

The patrol warns the number could still go up if other reports from other agencies come in of fatal crashes.

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