January 7, 2016
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2015 ends with highest fatalities in five years - 
63 percent of fatalities were unbuckled

The year 2015 ended with an 11.4 percent increase in fatalities on Missouri roads. After two years of lower numbers, the fatalities in Missouri for 2015 were over 800 for the first time since 2012.

As of Dec. 31, 853 lives were reported lost in 2015 Missouri traffic crashes. Sixty-three percent of the drivers and passengers killed were not wearing seat belts.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the leading causes of fatal crashes continue to be speeding, driver inattention and impaired driving. A couple of new trends have emerged for 2015 including increases in improper lane use and substance-impaired driving. Those crash trends are showing a 100 percent increase in expressway intersection fatalities and an 82 percent increase in overturning vehicle fatalities when compared to 2014.

"Fifty percent of those not belted were also ejected from the vehicle," said Colonel Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "Seat belt use is the single most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries resulting from traffic crashes, so make sure everyone is properly restrained on every trip."

"Combined efforts in engineering, law enforcement, education, and emergency medical services aid in the reduction of roadway fatalities," says MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. "With lower gas prices in 2015, we are seeing an increase in the amount of overall travel on Missouri's roads. Drivers need to take a proactive role by wearing their seat belt and focusing on their driving,"

Read more, including driving tips and the list of the yearly fatality numbers for the last ten years - Fatalities.
Winter is Here!
Check out MoDOT's winter driving tips and traveler information websites.

Winter Driving Tips -
Winter Driving Tips
Topics in this site include:
- Before the trip
- During the trip
- How to equip your vehicle
- If you are trapped in your car
- MoDOT plowing priorities
- How to keep your driveway clear

Traveler Information Map
 - modot.org 
Check the map before you head out to see road conditions from construction to road conditions from flooding and snow/ice.

Social Media
Tough Choices - What Really Matters
Former Missouri Highway Patrolman stresses the importance of safety belt usage

Click above to watch Sheldon Lyon, of the St. Joseph Safety and Health Council, share a personal story about the importance of safety belt usage.
For Sheldon Lyon, of the St. Joseph Safety and Health Council, safety on Missouri's roads is a top area of concern. Having served as a Missouri Highway Patrolman with Troop H for 29 years, Lyon has experienced first-hand the importance of safety belt usage on Missouri's roads.

"I think my passion for safety comes from a career of observing mistakes made out on the highways and the consequences that come from that," said Lyon.

As a safety advocate, one of the stories Mr. Lyon tells often comes from his days as a Highway Patrolman in the northwest part of the state. The story, a tragic one involving a local family, illustrates the importance of safety belt usage not only for drivers but for passengers as well.

"One careless thought or choice when a family gets in a vehicle, will devastate a family forever; and these choices are made by Missourians every day," said Lyon.

Through four key pillars of transportation - roads, bridges, safety and economic development - the Missouri Department of Transportation is spotlighting business owners, workers, parents, students and travelers, all of whom have unique stories to tell about what matters most to them.

You can view a video Mr. Lyon's full story at www.modot.org/toughchoicesahead .
Have You SeenThis?
Save 20 percent this winter on Amtrak Missouri River Runner

The weather outside might get frightful, but the savings on Amtrak travel are delightful! Save now on travel from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2016. Refer to discount code V871.

Reservations required at least one day in advance. Offer valid for coach seats. Certain restrictions and blackout dates apply.

Learn more by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com.

Kansas City - Independence - Lee's Summit - Warrensburg - Sedalia - Jefferson City -
Hermann - Washington - Kirksville - St. Louis

Amtrak and the Missouri River Runner are registered service marks of the National Rail Passenger Corporation.
Recent flooding stats

On Dec. 26 flooding began hitting many areas of the state, and many counties have been declared a disaster. Whether closing roads as necessary, updating the travel information map or answering phones, MoDOT employees were out in full force to help detour motorists around the closures and keep them safe on our highways. Here are just a few stats:
  • At the peak of the flooding, 285 plus roads were closed.
  • I-44 was closed in three locations - Hazelgreen, Jerome and St. Louis.
  • I-70 and I-55 were closed in St. Louis.
  • Major routes were closed including Rte 141, SB Rte 67, Rte 61, EB Rte 60, Rte 63, Rte 50, Rte 47 and Rte 19.
  • AND then snow in western and northern Missouri was added to the problems.
  • Customer Service representatives took 46,672 calls over a nine day period, which is more than the over 41,000 calls taken during the months of July and August combined.
  • Customers were also using MoDOT's social media in record numbers to stay up to date on conditions Customers were using MoDOT's social media in record numbers to stay up to date on conditions - Facebook likes increased by over 16,000 and Twitter followers over 3,000.
MDC and MoDOT invite schools to fight litter through "No MOre Trash!" contest
Win school funds while having fun trashing trash

T he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and MoDOT invite Missouri public, private, and home-school students in grades K-8 to help fight litter in the Show-Me State -- and to have creative and educational fun -- by participating in the 2016 "Yes You CAN Make Missouri Litter-Free" trash-can-decorating contest.

The annual trash-can contest encourages school classes and groups to join in the fight against litter by decorating and displaying a large trash can with the "No MOre Trash!" logo and a litter-prevention message using a variety of creative media.

The annual contest is sponsored by MDC and MoDOT as part of the state's "No MOre Trash!" (NMT) statewide litter campaign. This partnership between MDC and MoDOT, along with thousands of volunteers, is working to prevent and reduce litter in Missouri through education, prevention, and cleanup activities. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American generates about four pounds of trash each day.

Click here to read more and for information on the contest - No MOre Trash Contest.
View From the Chair
How did we get here?
by Steve Miller, Chairman, Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission 

The end of the year is a time for reflection and hopes for the future. I am often asked how Missouri has come to find itself in the midst of a transportation funding crisis. It is a story of both vision and short- sightedness.

In the 1920s, Missouri leaders had the foresight to recognize the dramatic impact and potential the emerging automobile would have to life in the state. Those leaders established a highway department to professionally manage the construction and maintenance of a system of state roads. Automobile transportation was so important that the Missouri constitution was amended to create an independent citizen commission that would govern the department, thereby removing transportation policy from the political process.

Those same leaders also determined that those who used the roads should pay for them and implemented a tax on fuel - almost ten years before the federal government - to fund the road system. And, to protect the taxes collected from diversion by the General Assembly for other purposes, they created constitutional protection for those monies by providing that appropriation by the General Assembly would not be required; that tax revenues are deemed appropriated for the roads at the time of collection.

Missouri is the only state with such a combination of constitutional protections for its highway system - an independent commission AND dedicated funding - that's how important our forbearers saw our highway system. It was brilliant, bold and insightful. Read More.
Have You Heard This?
Commission Chairman wins 2015 President's Award

Stephen R. Miller, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, was recently presented the 2015 President's Award by the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

The award is given to an individual for outstanding service to the legal profession by furthering the mission of the association to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law.

Miller is a founding member of Miller Schirger, LLC, where he practices complex business litigation with a special emphasis in the construction industry. Governor Jay Nixon appointed him to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission in 2009. He was elected chairman in March 2014.
Safer Roadways
Missouri Dept. of Transportation | (888) 275-6636
P.O. Box 270 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0270