Seeks partners

Over the last seven years, Missouri has experienced a reduction of 38 percent in traffic fatalities and 35 percent in serious injuries. To keep safety awareness flowing, the Northeast Coalition for Roadway Safety is seeking Mexico area schools, businesses and service organizations to help save more lives and reduce injuries occurring on Missouri roadways.
Historically, the coalition's focus has been on meeting a fatality reduction goal. Its new goal is set to reduce traffic fatalities to 700 by 2016.
Marisa Christy-Kerns, senior customer relations specialist with the NE Coalition for Roadway Safety and co-chair of the education committee, said this blueprint challenges communities not only to focus on the goal, but also concentrate on moving toward zero roadway deaths.
"Our safety partners play an important role and collectively we can make a positive difference," Christy-Kerns said. "We want to get everyone involved with the coalition to help us get the message and resources out there to promote roadway safety."
The coalition focuses on four Es: Enforcement, Engineering, Education, and Emergency Management Services. The group coordinates child passenger safety seat checks; provides programs at local schools; provides scholarships for driver's education courses; and sponsors AARP older driver courses, as well as many other safety programs.
"We focus on getting information out to the youngest of kids to the oldest of drivers (and everyone in between)," Christy-Kerns said. "We just want the eyes in the community to help us spread the message."
The NE Coalition covers a 17-county district that includes Audrain, Montgomery, Randolph, Monroe and Macon. "We would love for Audrain County organizations to become one of those partners," Christy-Kerns said.
Missouri is one of nine states able to boast of six straight years of declining fatality totals. It is one of 10 states that experienced more than a 35 percent reduction in fatalities between 2005 and 2011, and one of three states with more than 2,000 fewer traffic fatalities since 2005. Missouri is also the only state in the nation to have achieved all three of these accomplishments.Information has been shared locally with Central Missouri Community Action and the Audrain County Human Service Council. Both agencies are networking within the community to generate interest.
"I think this would be good for our community, especially the schools," said CMCA representative Thomas Dobyns. If enough interest is shown, he would like to invite the NE Coalition staff to present a program in Mexico. For more information on the NE Coalition, visit, and then click on the Northeast Region. Or, call Christy-Kerns at 660-385-8257. The NE Coalition is also hosting a Blueprint Mini Conference in Hannibal on March 6, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Quality Inn hotel. The community is encouraged to attend and get involved.