COLUMBIA — No one in Missouri died in a traffic accident on New Year's Eve, and the total number of traffic fatalities for the year was the lowest in decades, according to the state Highway Patrol.
This is the first year since 1998, when records became available on the Highway Patrol's website, that there were no Missouri traffic fatalities over the New Year holiday.
In 2013, 12 people were killed in the state over the holiday period, which included a weekend. Several of the accidents were related to icy weather conditions. This year, the weather on New Year's Eve was cool and dry, which might have helped, said Capt. Tim Hull of the Highway Patrol.
Last year, 741 traffic fatalities were recorded in Missouri. It was the second time since 1949 that Missouri reported fewer than 800 traffic deaths in one year. In 2012, a total of 826 deaths were reported.
Except for a slight increase in 2012, each year since 2005 has seen a drop in traffic deaths, according to the Highway Patrol. In 2005, 1,257 fatalities were reported — 41 percent more than last year.
Hull attributed the sharp decrease in traffic deaths to what is called the "4 Es" — engineering, enforcement, education and emergency medical services.
He said a number of campaigns have been carried out to enhance the highway safety, and other agencies have helped with enforcement.
"EMS is also much better than it used to be," he said. "Medical resources are … much quicker to get to."