Missouri is on track to having its lowest traffic fatality numbers in about sixty years. The story starts with numbers, but there are numbers…and then there are numbers that give us this melancholy good news.
Here are some of those numbers—382 traffic fatalities in the first six months of the year. That’s 15 percent lower than the first half of last year and last year’s number was the lowest since 19-93.
Highway Patrol spokesman John Hotz says safer roads, safer vehicles, better enforcement end education efforts coupled with better driving by motorists all help with the reduction. He says troopers also are more visible.
At this rate, Missouri’s traffic death count at the end of the year could be 400 to 500 fewer than the 2005 total of 12-hundred-57, and could be comparable to 1950 numbers.
But numbers behind the numbers are even more impressive. Those numbers–traffic deaths per hundredweight miles driven last year–was almost half what they were 25 years ago.
At this rate, Missouri could finish the year with about 760-820 traffic deaths. We have to go back to the late 1940s and early 1950s to find numbers that low. But those numbers were achieved with far fewer cars on the road driving far fewer miles.