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.
By identifying behaviors and characteristics most associated with severe crashes, MoDOT can make more informed decisions to improve safety. While the most common causes are related to human behavior, MoDOT can help implement solutions through education, enforcement, engineering and emergency response.
In 2022 there were 1,057 traffic fatalities in Missouri, a 4% increase from 2021. However, nearly every category reported in this measure experienced a decrease. On the surface, this is counterintuitive. However, several factors could cause this, including the reporting practices of individual officers, the fact all 2022 crash reports are not yet considered final and the possibility of increases in other categories. It should also be noted distracted driving is significantly underreported. Therefore, this could be an indication distracted driving is a primary causation of the overall increase.
The greatest decrease was in impaired driving. Coincidentally, DWI arrests conducted as part of the highway safety grant program were up significantly in 2022. Likewise, the number of unbelted fatalities experienced a noticeable reduction. This coincides with an increase in statewide seat belt use as well as a lower percentage of unbelted fatalities. Aggressive driving continues to be the leading cause of fatal crashes and remains higher than pre-pandemic numbers. The number of reported distracted driving fatalities experienced the largest increase (17%). Intersection fatalities increased for the fourth year in a row while fatalities in curves decreased for the second year in a row.
Missouri's strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, has four emphasis areas: occupant protection, distracted driving, speed and aggressive driving, and impaired driving. MoDOT aims to improve safety with every project by utilizing a new tool called SAFER, a Safety Assessment For Every Roadway. The goal of SAFER is to increase the number of projects that include safety improvements. For the draft 2024-2028 STIP, the department has programmed 423 projects with specific safety improvements. In addition, MoDOT administers approximately $25 million federal funds for educational, enforcement, and outreach programs to reduce poor driving behaviors.
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 (TMS). 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.
Kansas City District
Assistant to State Highway Safety & Traffic Engineer
Highway Safety and Traffic