In 2004, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety was created to reduce the staggering number of traffic fatalities in the state. The coalition includes safety advocates, law enforcement agencies, engineers, emergency workers, educators, and community members working with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Missouri has reported decreases in traffic fatalities for the past five years, and for 2011, the state’s life saving highway safety trends earned it special recognition.
On September 2011, the Governors’ Highway Safety Administration awarded the MoDOT its Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award. The prestigious award was offered to Missouri officials for the successful “Arrive Alive” campaign, which helped reduce traffic deaths by more than 35 percent in five years. In the past year alone, crash-related fatalities declined 12 percent from 604 to 527.
Missouri’s Department of Transportation attributes the initiative’s success in motor vehicle accident prevention to several factors, including more comprehensive driver education, promotion of seat belt use, better warning systems, road and bridge improvements and advances in vehicle safety features. State officials added brighter striping and signs, improved shoulders, added rumble strips on 5,600 centerline miles, smoothed pavement and installed 640 miles of median guard cables.
Some issues with roadway safety remain. In 2009, 878 Missourians died on state highways. Thirty percent of these deaths were linked to impaired drivers. Seven out of 10 Missourians killed on the state’s roads were not wearing seat belts. The leading causes of traffic deaths remain speeding, drinking and inattention.
Still, Missouri’s successes have resulted in its lowest highway fatality numbers in almost six decades. Arrive Alive does not stand alone as the state’s only life saving initiative. Along with conferences that examine traffic safety, motorcycle awareness campaigns, and comprehensive driver programs, the state works to improve road safety for all riders and drivers who share Missouri’s roads.
Source: Missourian, Celebrate decrease in state traffic deaths, Jefferson City News Tribune, 4 October 2011