Most Common Characteristics of Fatal Crashes -1d

The ultimate goal is zero fatalities.

MoDOT’s first tangible result is to keep customers and ourselves safe. The greatest challenge in providing this is the recurring frequency of fatal crashes on Missouri roadways. In order to combat this, MoDOT utilizes a comprehensive data-driven analysis to identify the most common contributing circumstances of severe crashes.

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Results Driver

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Chris Redline
Chris Redline
Title
District Engineer
Department
Kansas City District
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Measurement Driver

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jon nelson
Jon Nelson
Title
Assistant to State Highway Safety & Traffic Engineer
Department
Highway Safety and Traffic
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Write Up:

MoDOT’s priority is to keep customers and employees safe. The greatest challenge to this is the recurring frequency of fatal and serious injury crashes on Missouri roadways. MoDOT utilizes crash data to identify the most common contributing circumstances of severe crashes. By identifying behaviors and characteristics most associated with these crashes, MoDOT can make more informed decisions to address the problem. While the most common causes are related to human behavior, MoDOT can help implement solutions through education, enforcement, engineering and emergency response to minimize poor decisions and their potential impact.

In 2020 there were 986 traffic fatalities in Missouri, a 12% increase from 2019. While every category reported in this measure saw an increase, the most notable increases involved vehicles running off the roadway, usually due to aggressive driving and unbelted vehicle occupants. Aggressive driving continues to be the leading cause of fatal crashes in the state. Aggressive driving includes speeding, driving too fast for conditions, following too closely and improper passing. Speed contributed to 40% of the traffic fatalities in 2020. Overall, speed related fatalities were up 25% from 2019. Unbelted occupant fatalities increased 23% in 2020 with 428 individuals not wearing a seat belt. Overall, 67% of the vehicle occupants killed in 2020 were not wearing a seat belt. Distracted driving fatalities were up 13% in 2020, the first recorded increase in this category since 2015. Substance-impaired driving fatalities were up 6% in 2020, but mostly in line with the previous five years.

In conjunction with the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, MoDOT unveiled a new strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero. Show-Me Zero is designed to provide all Missourians a better understanding of the crash problem and how everyone, from individuals to organizations, can play a role in driving Missouri toward safer roads. The plan uses four key messages to promote change:  buckle up, phone down, slow down and drive sober.

MoDOT directly supports implementation of Show-Me Zero through the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), where millions of dollars are programmed each year for roadway safety improvements. In addition, MoDOT administers federal safety funds for educational and enforcement programs to reduce poor driving behaviors. These programs allow safety partners throughout the state to get involved in efforts to move Missouri toward zero deaths.

Purpose of Measure:

The measure tracks annual trends in motor-vehicle-related fatalities resulting from the most common contributing factors or highway features. This data represents the four focus areas presented in Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero.

Measurement and Data Collection:

Missouri law enforcement agencies submit a vehicle crash report form to the Missouri State Highway Patrol to be entered into a statewide traffic crash database, which feeds into MoDOT's Transportation Management System. MoDOT staff query and analyze this data to determine the number of unrestrained occupants in crashes, how often aggressive driving, distracted driving, alcohol and other drugs contribute to crashes, and whether or not the vehicles ran off the road, the crash occurred in a curve or the crash occurred at an intersection.