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A new Missouri plan called Show-Me Zero takes a multi-pronged approach toward a single, simple goal: eliminating fatalities and serious injuries on Missouri roads.

It's an unrealistic goal that's unlikely to ever happen. But it's a laudable goal, nevertheless, and we encourage Missourians to embrace it.

It's a plan by the Missouri Department of Transportation and other partners. They describe it as a disciplined approach to achieving safer roads through education, public policy, enforcement, engineering and emergency response. "The idea is simple: No one can do everything, but everyone can do something," MoDOT says on its website.

Preliminary data shows, despite fewer drivers on the roads due to the pandemic, our state' traffic fatalities rose by 12 percent in 2020 over the previous year. In 2020, 989 lives were lost in Missouri traffic crashes, up from 881 in 2019.

It's as if drivers thought that fewer vehicles on the roads meant they could drive faster, while distracted or without seat belts. In fact, evidence suggests that, of drivers in wrecks, fewer wore seat belts and more sped than previously.

The new plan identifies four key focus areas to help turn the tide: occupant protection (seat belts, car seats and helmets), distracted driving, speed and aggressive driving, and impaired driving. It also contains strategies to keep the roads safe for families and individuals as well as groups such as schools, businesses, local public agencies, law enforcement, health organizations and statewide officials.

We encourage you to not only embrace the plan and its goals, but to visit MoDOT's website, www.modot.org, and download the full Show-Me Zero plan to learn more we can all make Missouri roads safer. It shows ways you can help and make a difference, and it encourages you to invite others to do their part as well.

We might not be able to eliminate roadway deaths in our state, but we can continue to reduce them, especially after the spike we saw last year.

News Tribune

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