WHAT OTHERS SAY: Reduction in deaths on Missouri highways deserves recognition

Saturday, January 4, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Credit Missouri motorists and state and local law enforcement agencies for a stellar start to the new year.

Zero fatalities were reported by the Missouri Highway Patrol during the holiday counting period that extended from 6 p.m. Tuesday through midnight Wednesday.

The zero represents a dramatic decrease from the 12 fatalities reported during last year’s counting period, which — admittedly — was longer.

Greater safety also was evident in other statistics, when compared to last year.

  • Troopers investigated 116 traffic accidents this year, a significant reduction from 486 last year.
  • Injuries this year totaled 42, a decrease from 147.
  • Arrests for driving while intoxicated numbered 47, a decline from 124 DWI arrests the previous year.

The patrol’s New Year’s data was followed by a second report revealing an encouraging trend characterized by Superintendent Ron Replogle as “a strong reduction in traffic fatalities since 2005.”

Preliminary statistics from 2013 show 741 traffic fatalities, a 41 percent drop from the 1,257 deaths in 2005.

With the exception of a slight increase in 2012, the patrol reported, fatalities have declined each year during the past seven years.

In addition to the decrease in fatalities, total traffic crashes also have declined. Although total crash figures for 2013 are not available yet, the patrol reports Missouri traffic crashes decreased 21 percent from 2005 to 2012.

“This is an important trend that the patrol would like to see continue,” Replogle said. “We believe education and enforcement encourage safe driving, which results in fewer traffic fatalities. I want to thank the public for helping to make this year safer than last year.”

We encourage motorists to continue this positive trend by treating driving as a primary activity, free from the distractions caused by eating, primping, texting, etc. Save those ancillary activities for when you’re not operating an expensive, potentially lethal piece of machinery.

The strong, safe start to the new year deserves to gain momentum.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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