JEFFERSON CITY -A single vehicle crash that claimed the lives of 16 people would definitely make the news as a national tragedy. However, just this past weekend, 16 lives were lost on Missouri's roadways, day by day - in single and multiple numbers.According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 519 lives were reported lost this year in Missouri traffic crashes as of Aug. 17. Sixty-one percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts. The top causes of these fatalities were driver inattention, speeding, driving impaired and not wearing a seat belt. "Drivers must take personal responsibility for safety when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle," says MoDOT Director of Highway Safety Bill Whitfield. "Fatalities are preventable, if drivers take proper measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others."Since 2006 Missouri has seen a downward trend in statewide fatalities. However, currently there is a 13 percent increase in fatalities over this time last year. Combined efforts in engineering, law enforcement, education, and emergency medical services aid in the reduction of roadway fatalities, but there is still much work to be done to prevent traffic crashes from occurring.MoDOT offers the following tips to drivers to help prevent a fatal crash:• Never drive distracted.• Be aware of your surroundings.• Always wear a seat belt and make sure your passengers are buckled up.• Never drive impaired by alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs.• Maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles.• Slow down and obey the speed limit.• Obey Missouri traffic laws.Highway safety begins with you. Learn more by visiting http://www.savemolives.com/, or http://www.nsc.org/pages/home.aspx.