2022 fatal crash numbers rise in Missouri
Traffic fatalities in Missouri rose for the third year in a row in 2022, with data showing that more than 1,028 people died on the state’s roads, the highest number of deaths since 2006.
Data from the Missouri Coalition of Roadway Safety lists several factors that led to the increase in fatalities. Not wearing a safety device was the major cause. About 64% of fatalities from 2017 to 2021 were due to individuals not wearing seat belts.
“Fatality crashes should not be happening as frequently as they are,” said Sheldon Lyon, executive director of the St. Joseph Safety and Health Council. “Especially under circumstances that can be controlled like simply wearing a safety device. I can’t stress this enough but a seat belt can sometimes save your life even in situations like a rollover crash.”
Distracted driving also has played a role in the increase in fatalities. Data showed that 382 people in the state have died since 2017 due to distracted driving.
“These numbers are concerning,” Lyon said. “Over the course of four and five years, this number may not seem like a lot to people but that’s a lot of lives taken away all because you didn’t put your cell phone down or you were engaging in something that took your focus off the road. These occurrences have to be fixed.”
Lyon emphasized that some traffic accidents can’t be controlled due to factors like severe weather, so drivers should make sure they’re driving with caution at all times.
“It is best to drive five to 10 miles slower than the speed limit, even slower in heavy rain or windy conditions,” he said. “A slight change of direction or a gust of wind could throw your car into a skid so you have to drive with caution in every road condition.”
The Missouri Department of Transportation is aiming to tackle the two most impactful actions a driver can take to prevent crashes through their “Buckle Up, Phone Down” campaign which encourages drivers to buckle up each time they get in a moving vehicle and to put their phone down.
“There’s many ways for drivers to ensure they make it to their destination safely,” Lyon said. “If you know you get distracted by your phone a lot then put it on ‘do not disturb’ mode until you get to your destination.”
Jenna Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.