Jefferson City, MO 32° View Live Radar Mon H 70° L 43° Tue H 64° L 36° Wed H 57° L 42° Weather Sponsored By:

Our Opinion: Celebrating fewer deaths on Missouri roads in 2017

Our Opinion: Celebrating fewer deaths on Missouri roads in 2017

January 4th, 2018 by News Tribune in Opinion

When Missouri drivers arrived at their destinations and rang in the new year, they may have taken for granted one thing to celebrate: They arrived at their destination.

Over the New Year's weekend, Missouri troopers saw 229 wrecks, nine more than last year. Those occurred during the New Year's holiday "counting period." This year, that was 6 p.m. Dec. 29 to the start of 2018.

Thankfully, that's not a significant increase. And so far, we can say fewer lives were lost during this year's counting period — seven this year compared to eight last year. (So far, we say, because anyone who dies from a wreck within 30 days of the end of the counting period is added to the tally.)

Likewise, the overall crash fatalities in Missouri from 2016-17 are lower so far: 922 compared to 947. Hopefully, those figures won't change.

Even if the 922 figure does hold, it's not a significant drop statistically. Still, we'll take it. To us, one fewer is significant — that's one human life.

We commend the Missouri Highway Patrol — as well as city and county law enforcement agencies — for working to keep the roads safe when most of us are enjoying the holidays.

In addition to working the wrecks, troopers made 129 arrests for driving while intoxicated and 49 drug arrests during the 2018 New Year counting period. There were no boating crashes or drownings during the 2018 New Year's holiday counting period.

Missouri drivers can take some credit for lowering the state's accident fatalities in 2017. We've long reminded, prodded, even admonished our readers to do a few simple things while behind the wheel: drive sober, wear a seat belt and don't be distracted from the road with cellphones or anything else.

Many factors can play a part in the small decrease, but we would like to believe that some of it is due to drivers having the knowledge and will to make a difference.