In terms of the numbers, 2011 was better than the previous year for fatalities on Missouri roadways. The numbers are still high, but the Missouri Department of Transportation saw a decline in the number of deaths in 2011.
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety reported that there were 773 deaths in 2011 due to automobile related accidents - compared to 821 in 2010. This is the lowest amount of deaths in more than 70 years, but, this number still means that two or more people died each day on Missouri roads.
Deaths have been on the decline for the last six years. This is also a positive note when comparing the numbers to others states in the area. The death toll on the roadways in Illinois for 2011, for example, was 927, according to their state police.
MoDot is quick to praise those drivers who take the time to make sure that they are traveling safely, as well as the law enforcement and emergency services personnel who work so hard to ensure safety on the roadways.
However, even though deaths have been on the decline, vigilance and caution are always important on the roadways. Safety measures have been ramped up in recent years to make the roadways safer, but it all begins with the most important piece: the driver. This is especially important in the winter, as even the smallest amount of snow can cause dangerous conditions and major headaches on the roadways.
In early January, a little snow was to blame for 225 calls to police for accidents in just a 12-hour span, where just a day earlier only 16 accidents were reported on the roadways. Those accidents ranged from a police officer hitting an ice patch and slamming into a retaining wall to a nine-car pileup which included two snow plows and a tractor trailer.
That pileup caused a major interstate to be closed. Thankfully, most of the calls were for non-injury wrecks. The police officer walked away unhurt and there were only minor injuries in the pile-up.
In any event, caution should always be taken on the roadways, particularly when tricky weather conditions are involved.