Missouri law enforcement increase traffic control with HEAT

Thursday, June 23, 2011 | 5:45 p.m. CDT; updated 11:42 a.m. CDT, Friday, June 24, 2011
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The total number of statewide fatalities have decreased a total of 13 percent this year. These are the total number of fatalities from 2005 through June 19.

COLUMBIA — Missouri highway officials are turning up the heat again this summer on speeding drivers, according to a Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety news release.

Missouri law enforcement has used High Enforcement Action Teams, or HEAT, on Missouri highways for the past three summers to make sure travelers remain safe. Summer weather tends to increase travel, which leads to more traffic-related accidents and deaths, according to the release.

The “HEAT Is On” campaign will run from June 21 to Sept. 22, starting with an Interstate 70 corridor project Saturday. From 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday, drivers on I-70 will see more officers. Enforcement will be increased across Missouri and Kansas. This is the first year Kansas law enforcement will join the campaign.

Officers will be looking for speeders, drivers who aren’t wearing seat belts and drunk drivers.

Local law enforcement agencies such as Columbia Police Department, Boone County Sheriff's Department and Highway Patrol will help with the enforcement. Melissa Black, outreach coordinator for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said MoDOT is working to educate the public.

Last year’s 24-hour crackdown produced 1,080 traffic citations including 530 speeding tickets, 144 seat belt tickets and 38 driving while intoxicated citations, according to the release. There were also two felony and 11 drug arrests.

Last summer, 258 people were killed, and 1,716 suffered disabling injuries in crashes between July and September.

Despite those numbers, highway deaths in Missouri are steadily decreasing overall. Last year, 2010, was the fifth year in a row to have a reduction in roadway fatalities.

Missouri’s goal was to have 850 or fewer roadway fatalities by the end of 2012In 2010, only 819 people were killed in Missouri traffic crashes. The last time so few people were killed in Missouri highway crashes was in 1949.

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Paul Allaire June 23, 2011 | 7:08 p.m.

The numbers are somewhat remarkable, both the number of deaths and the amount of the decrease. I wonder how much of the decrease is due to any change in enforcement and how much is due to increased vehicle quality or the fact that some drivers are no longer with us.

Note: I don't see dogs chasing cars like I used to when I was a kid.

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