Traffic deaths on Missouri roads have been on a downward trend for nearly 10 years, and a highway patrol spokesman said the declining numbers are likely due to several factors that include education and road improvements.
The number of traffic fatalities has dropped since 2005, with 2012 the only year showing an increase from the previous year, the Jefferson City Tribune reported.
On average, about 1,068 deaths a year have occurred since the Missouri Highway Patrol began reporting traffic fatalities in 1949.
The highest number of traffic deaths reported was in 1969 with 1,521 fatalities, and the lowest number reported was in 2013 with 757 deaths.
Lt. John Hotz, Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman, said the state agency attributes the general decline in fatalities to education, enforcement, engineering and emergency medical services.
“The Patrol, of course, works diligently in the areas of education and enforcement, conducting educational programs for tens of thousands of Missourians each year,” Hotz said.
“We stress the importance of paying attention, obeying the speed limit, driving sober and buckling up.”
Hotz also noted highway patrol collaborates with other law enforcement, such as local sheriff and police departments, to help enforce Missouri’s traffic laws.
“We know that if we can reduce the number of traffic violations that are committed, we can reduce the number of traffic crashes that take place,” he said.
Transportation officials believe that road improvements, such as adding shoulders to roads that did not have them before, likely helped decrease traffic fatality numbers too.
Hotz agreed improvements to roads and safer vehicles have helped the state reduce its traffic fatality figures.
“We also must give credit to the drivers in Missouri who are doing the right thing on more occasions,” Hotz said.
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