Highway Traffic Fatalities on the Rise in Missouri
Missouri has seen 62 more traffic fatalities during the first half of 2012 than it saw during the same period in 2011. What is drawing attention to the spike is that this is the first such increase in six years. In response, the Missouri State Highway Patrol has launched a public service campaign urging drivers to pay attention, obey traffic laws and buckle up.
Most of these fatal motor vehicle accidents have been concentrated in the central and southern part of the state in areas like Springfield and Joplin, which together saw a 59 percent increase. However, not all cities in Missouri have seen a similar increase. The Kansas City area experienced one additional death from 2011 while the St. Louis and St. Joseph areas had slight declines over the prior year.
Though the reason for the dramatic increase in fatal accidents is still unknown, swerving across the centerline or off to the right of the road has been a common theme among these fatal accidents.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Sergeant Dan Crain cites speed, distracted driving and the lack of seat belts as possible reasons for the increase. It is alarming that roughly two-thirds of those killed in these most recent accidents were not wearing a seat belt.
Being behind the wheel is most likely the most dangerous part of a person’s day. However, taking the following precautions can reduce the risks inherent in driving:
- Never drink and drive
- Avoid texting and talking on a cell phone
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Obey all traffic laws, especially the speed limit
- Drive defensively
Most traffic accidents are preventable. Unfortunately, they occur with too great a frequency and people are often seriously hurt or killed due to someone’s negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your situation and your options.