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Missouri Department of Transportation

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MoDOT News Release 

For more information, contact Sandra Hentges at 573-526-4141 or Sandra.Hentges@modot.mo.gov, or Laura Holloway at 573-751-5414 or Laura.Holloway@modot.mo.gov.

July 24, 2007 12:00 AM
Missouri Leads the Nation in Saving Lives on the Road

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri had the largest drop in traffic-related fatalities in 2006 of any state in the nation -- down by 161 compared to 2005.

Nicole Nason, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, made the announcement on Monday afternoon. She said Missouri leads the nation in the number of lives saved. In 2005, 1,257 people lost their lives in Missouri traffic crashes; in 2006 that number was down to 1,096.                        

"Several years ago, safety advocates in Missouri banded together to attack the problem of traffic crashes and deaths. We are thrilled to know our work is saving lives," said Leanna Depue, executive director of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "Engineering improvements along with the combination of law enforcement and educational efforts have been proven to reduce fatalities. Strong partnerships made these improvements possible."

"The safety of motorists on Missouri's highways is MoDOT's top priority," said Pete Rahn, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation. "We are proud and thankful that we lead the nation in reduction of fatalities. Our highway improvements are saving lives, but we will continue to look for innovative ways make our roads safer."

A large part of the reduction is attributed to engineering advances such as the installation of median guard cable on the interstates, rumble stripes, smoother pavement, better and brighter signing, striping and reflective markings to help keep drivers on the road.

Over the last four years, Interstate 70 cable installation reduced cross-median fatalities from 24 to two. Statewide, these fatalities were reduced by nearly half.  Missouri currently has nearly 500 miles of median guard cable installed. MoDOT is studying the state's entire four-lane divided highway system to determine additional locations where guard cable would be effective in reducing fatalities.

"I am proud of all our troopers who work every day to encourage safe driving and reduce traffic fatalities. This is our primary responsibility and I believe we are doing a commendable job as evidenced by the fantastic reductions. This work is continuing as we are experiencing similar fatality reductions thus far during 2007," said Colonel James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"The Patrol utilized innovative enforcement efforts and safety programs to help reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes in Missouri last year," said Keathley. "New in-car computer technology has allowed troopers to spend more time on the road as opposed to in the office.  We are very pleased that Missouri led the nation in the reduction of fatal traffic crashes, and we are committed to working with our traffic safety partners to further reduce the number of traffic deaths in our state."            

The Coalition continues to work toward the passage of a primary seat belt law in Missouri, which would save an additional 90 lives each year.

For more information, visit http://www.savemolives.com/.

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Editor's note: For a chart showing rankings of all 50 states, please visit the Missouri Department of Transportation's newsroom at http://www.modot.org/newsroom.

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