Increase in state traffic fatalities

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is seeing an increase in traffic fatalities across the state and encourages motorists to slow down, especially during Memorial Day weekend.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is encouraging those who plan to travel this Memorial Day weekend to plan ahead.

“Make preparations in advance, it’s a busy holiday weekend, I’m sure it’s going to be busy,” Sgt. Jake Angle with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. “I don’t know how current events are going to impact that, but there’s obviously going to be an increase in traffic with people attending family events and things like that.”

The state recently has seen an increase in traffic fatalities, although it’s not clear how shelter-in-place orders have had an impact on that.

“Looking at fatalities, as of today was a 6% increase over the same time last year. Of course, that’s not a number we want to see, we want to see those numbers going down,” Angle said.

There also has been an increase in speed violations across the state from last year.

“People traveling over 26 miles per hour has increased by 58% and the number of citations we’ve issued for that same speed, 26 miles an hour or more with a speed limit, has increased 92%,” Angle said. “That correlates to the reduction in traffic, due to recent events, there’s a possible correlation there, and I think over time we’ll be able to maybe put our finger on that a little bit better.”

When looking at traffic fatalities, Angle said the top cause in Missouri is speed.

“We just want to reiterate to people to slow down, obey the speed limit, it’s safer for you, it’s safer for the other people on the roadway,” Angle said. “It’s just a serious safety factor when we’re talking about traffic crashes and fatal crashes in the state of Missouri.”

With the recent increase in fatalities, troopers are stressing the importance of following traffic laws, especially during holiday weekends.

Drivers can check the MoDOT Traveler Map at traveler.modot.org/ to find out about road construction projects in Missouri to help plan ahead.

Maykayla Hancock can be reached at makayla.hancock@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowHancock.