The number of fatalities on Missouri’s highways last year fell only one short of the total for 2013. As of Friday the Highway Patrol has recorded 756 fatalities on Missouri’s roads in 2014, one fewer year-to-year.

Missouri_Highway_PatrolThe Highway Patrol typically stresses the importance of wearing a seat belt when talking about highway fatalities, and Captain Tim Hull says in 2014, more than 6 out of every 10 people who died in Missouri crashes were not.

“The previous year was right about the same, about 62 or 63 percent, and that’s something that we’ve seen the past several years,” Hull told Missourinet. “even though we’ve seen a downward trend in the number of deaths since 2005, with 2012 being the exception to that.”

Hull says since 2005 there has been a forty percent decrease in the annual number of traffic fatalities in Missouri, but he regrets that decrease hasn’t been greater.

“Think about how much better we could be or where we’d be at right now if 63-percent of those people that were killed were just wearing a seat belt. We would be well below the numbers of where we ever dreamed about being,” said Hull.

The Patrol can’t advocate for changes in Missouri law, but Hull does say that in neighboring states where drivers can be stopped just for not wearing a seatbelt, usage rates are much higher.

“Their usage rates are much higher and in most of those cases, if not all of them, their death rate is much lower than what ours is,” said Hull.