Travel among Missourians reflects the record numbers projected for the country over the holiday season.
103 million people are expected to venture out by airplane, rail or roadway across the U.S. between December 23rd and January 2nd.
Mike Right with AAA Missouri says statewide travel mirrors the national increase of 1.5 percent over last year. “Missourians are going to be traveling in similar numbers, in terms of record breaking numbers, for both motor vehicle travel as well as air travel.” Right says the rise in travel is being triggered by an improving economy as well as lower prices at the pump.
Although gasoline is currently 25-to-30 cents above where it was last year, the motoring public has saved $20 billion because of lower overall prices in 2016. Right says a boost to consumer confidence and family budgets is contributing to the travel increase.
At this point, he says most of the holiday travel has already taken place, but he’s concerned about the upcoming New Year’s weekend. “There’s an awful lots of celebrating going on” said Right. “We want to make sure that people take the necessary precautions, if indeed they’re one of the celebrants, to insure that they’ve got a designated sober driver to take them home, or arrange to stay at the destination.”
Right says drunk driving fatalities have diminished over time. “We’ve seen some improvement in the alcohol stats as far as drunk driving is concerned. But we’ve got a long way to go. More than 30 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities do involve alcohol.” The number of traffic fatalities linked to drunk driving has been as high as 50 percent in the U.S.
As for the breakdown of record travel over the current holiday season, AAA pegs the use of roadways as far and away the most prominent mode. Of the 103 million people venturing out 50 miles or more, 94 million will do so over highways. Six million will travel by air, while the remaining 3.5 million will use other modes, predominently rail.