For the fifth year in a row, there’s been a decrease in traffic fatalities in Missouri.

Highway Patrol Captain Tim Hull says the preliminary numbers are good: 814 people died in car accidents in 2010, compared to 878 in 2009. That’s still a death every 11 hours, but Hull says it’s a major improvement.

“2010 will be the fifth year in a row for that downward decline. There was about a 30% decrease those first four years and this is about a 6% or 7% decrease,” Hull said.

He also sees room for even more improvement in the coming years.

“The goal for 2012 was less than 850 deaths throughout the state of Missouri… We’ve already met that goal already… right now we’re two years ahead of our goal,” Hull said. “Those numbers haven’t been seen since the late 1940’s, those numbers. The things that we work on, we continue to talk about them and have for some time, are the four E’s,”

Hull says those four E’s are enforcement, emergency medical services, education and engineering.

“The cable barriers across the median have cut down the number of cross-over type crashes, which usually end up being a head-on type crash, that are usually the most deadly type of crash someone can be involved in. There’s engineering there; engineering on the vehicles today. They’re much safer than they used to be, they have air bags, crumple zones, collapsible steering wheels,” Hull said.

 He also says some of the latest education campaigns, like anti-texting, have been very effective.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 min MP3]