Our Opinion: Achievement in decreasing fatal crashes

News Tribune editorial

“Arrive Alive” is the mission as well as the slogan of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.

That mission is advancing, with highway fatalities in the state declining by 35 percent since 2005.

In recognition of the achievement, a national award recently was presented to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), which spearheaded creation of the coalition in 2004.

MoDOT was honored with the Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award from the Governors Highway Safety Association, based in Washington, D.C.

In announcing the award, the association noted the coalition, under MoDOT’s leadership, “successfully combined engineering, enforcement and education to help the state achieve traffic fatality levels not seen since 1950.”

Traffic fatalities in Missouri this year are down by more than 12 percent, according to the Highway Patrol, which reports 527 fatal accidents this year in comparison to 604 deaths recorded during the same period in 2010.

The downward trend has been steady each year since 2005, when 1,257 people died on Missouri highways.

Any life-saving trend merits recognition, but also deserves to be analyzed to determine what factors are driving the trend and how they can be continued and enhanced.

MoDOT attributes the decline in fatalities to:

• Improvements to roadways and bridges, including guard cables on highway medians.

• Better signs and signals to warn of dangerous conditions.

• Advances in vehicle safety features.

• More comprehensive driver education, including an emphasis on using seat belts and avoiding drunk driving.

We commend MoDOT and the coalition for their award-winning contribution to an ongoing drop in highway fatalities.

And we encourage all motorists to continue to do their part to drive safety, avoid distractions and arrive alive at their destination.

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