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The Missouri State Highway Patrol would like to make drivers aware of the importance of paying attention and following traffic law when driving.
Although Missouri has experienced a decrease in fatalities over that last six years, the first few months of 2012 have been deadly. When comparing early last year to the same time period this year, as of the date of this release, Missouri has experienced an increase of 29 traffic crash fatalities. Traffic crash reports indicate that two-thirds of those fatalities involved people who were not wearing a seat belt. A common theme of the contributing circumstances is failure to remain in the proper lane, which includes crossing over the center line and running off the right side of the road.
Missouri law requires that when driving upon all public roads or highways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway. It also states that every person operating a motor vehicle on the roads and highways of Missouri is to drive in a careful and prudent manner.
That same statute specifically states that drivers, “shall drive at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property, life, or limb of any other person…drivers shall exercise the highest degree of care.”
Many of this year’s crashes have involved drivers who have drifted off the edge of the pavement and overcorrected. Run-off-road crashes result in 50 percent of all traffic fatalities. The trick to protecting your life and the lives of others in these crashes is to remain calm. Don’t panic and overcorrect. Keep a firm grip on the wheel. Ease off the gas and stay off brake. Turn your wheel 1/8th turn to the left. When you feel your tires hit pavement again, turn wheel 1/4th turn to the right. Following these simple steps will help the driver get back onto the roadway without traveling into the opposite lane of traffic, thereby further reducing the chances of a crash. An off-road-recovery video can be viewed by going to the Patrol’s website at www.mshp.dps.mo.gov and clicking on the tab on the lower right side margin.
“Since Jan. 1 of this year, Missouri has seen an increase in traffic crash fatalities compared to the same period of time last year,” said Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
“Please give your full attention to driving. Drive according to the traffic laws of this state, and remember that seat belts can and do save lives. Please buckle up.”