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A Letter From Colonel J. Bret Johnson


To my fellow Missourians and visitors to our great state:

On August 17, 2015, the Missouri State Highway Patrol issued a news release reminding everyone to be safety minded over the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. That news release brought to mind this past weekend. August 14-16, 2015, was a deadly weekend in Missouri. Traffic crashes took the lives of 15 people this past weekend. An additional person died in a traffic crash on private property, and yet another person─a pedestrian─died after being hit by a train. Seventeen lives were lost this past weekend.

Troopers answered 406 traffic-related calls for service. Preliminary statistics indicate troopers worked 280 traffic crashes. These crashes were the result of inattention, driving too fast for conditions, and failing to yield the right-of-way. Nine of the crashes involved drivers losing control of the vehicle, which then traveled off the roadway and overturned or struck something. One of the crashes was the result of a driver crossing over the center line. Another fatal crash resulted after a driver failed to yield the right-of-way.

The important theme here is: Drivers made errors resulting in traffic crashes. Traffic crashes can be prevented. Fatalities don’t have to happen. If your vehicle leaves the right side of the roadway, please follow these important steps: 1) Don’t panic and don’t overcorrect! 2) Ease off the gas pedal and stay off the brake pedal. 3) Turn your wheel about 1/8th of a turn to the left to get back on the road. When the tires hit pavement again, turn the wheel 1/4th of a turn to the right.

Ladies and gentlemen, driving a vehicle is an important responsibility. Traffic fatalities are 12 percent higher this year compared to 2014. Every trooper on the road is asking operators to pay attention, be courteous, to use safety equipment, and to obey all traffic laws.


Colonel J. Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol