The State Highway Patrol reports 989 lives were lost in Missouri traffic crashes in 2020, up from 881 in 2019. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) says the preliminary reporting indicates a 12% increase compared to 2019.
“Nearly every fatal crash that occurs is preventable,” says Missouri State Highway Patrol Public Information and Education Director, Cpt. John Hotz. “Over 90% of these crashes were the result of someone simply making a poor decision, primarily: driving too fast, driving distracted or driving impaired. Many of those killed were not wearing a seat belt.”
MoDOT says despite traffic volumes in the state being significantly lower for most of 2020, Missouri experienced its largest number of traffic fatalities since 2007. Notable increases were in unbuckled and speed related deaths, with both experiencing about a 25% jump from the previous year.
MoDOT says in 2020, 67% of drivers and passengers killed in car crashes were unbuckled and preliminary numbers indicate 389 people were killed in crashes involving excessive speed or driving too fast for conditions. In addition, there were 126 pedestrians killed in 2020 –the largest number of pedestrian deaths in Missouri’s recorded history.
“The pandemic reminded us even if a large portion of vehicles are removed from the roadways, poor driving behaviors still have significant and often deadly consequences.” says MoDOT State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Nicole Hood. “We continue to work diligently in achieving the ultimate goal – zero traffic fatalities in Missouri. This year, we’re excited to introduce Missouri’s new strategic plan, a tool we hope will help us eventually reach that goal.”
Missouri has rolled out a new highway safety plan, called Show-Me Zero, Driving Missouri Toward Safer Roads. The effort includes four key focus areas to help make a difference: occupant protection (seat belts, car seats and helmets), distracted driving, speed and aggressive driving, and impaired driving.
It includes strategies for families and individuals as well as groups such as schools, businesses, local public agencies, law enforcement, health organizations, and statewide officials.
The plan can be viewed in its entirety at www.savemolives.com or by calling MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT.
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