Missouri drivers are headed toward their least deadly year on the roads since Harry Truman was president.

The highway traffic death toll will decline for a sixth straight year in 2011 and will finish below 800.  The six year decline comes after almost 40 years in which the state averaged more than one-thousand fatalities a year. 

Last year  the death total was 821.

Patrol Captain Tim Hull recalls the Patrol had set a goal of reducing fatalities numbers to 850 by 2012.  But numbers so far make it pretty certain the 2011 total will be less than 800–the first time since 1949 the number has been less than 800.

AUDIO: Listen to Capt.Hull. :19 mp3

He says safer vehicles, median cables, greater public awareness of dangerous behavior, and increased enforcement of traffic laws all have contributed to the decline.