Preliminary figures from the Missouri State Highway Patrol indicate four people were killed and 92 injured in 319 traffic crashes investigated by troopers during the New Year’s weekend counting period that began at 6 pm last Thursday and ran through 11:59 last night. In addition, the Highway Patrol made 113 arrests for driving while intoxicated.

During the New Year’s counting period a year ago, the Highway Patrol investigated 234 crashes, which included 11 fatalities and 89 injuries. There were 24 fatalities statewide over that counting period.

The Highway Patrol’s Captain Tim Hull is pleased that the number of DWI arrests declined from a year ago.

“Last year we had 131 – this year it was 113,” said Hull in an interview with the Missourinet. “That’s a good sign that people are taking advantage of those alternate transportation opportunities and not trying to drive after they’ve been to those parties.”

Hull believes the constant warnings about the dangers of drinking and driving are getting through, but that’s only part of the reason for the decline.

“I think the tolerance of the public and the courts to intoxicated driving offenses and accidents where people are injured or killed has lessened,” said Hull. “There’s just not as much tolerance there for that activity when you’ve got that much alternative practices that you can take to avoid driving yourself.”

Hull points out the numbers could change if other departments report fatal crashes investigated by local authorities.