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.
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 2021 there were 1,013 traffic fatalities in Missouri, a 3% increase from 2020. While nearly every category reported in this measure saw a modest decrease, the overall number of fatalities was up for the second year in a row. On the surface, it's counterintuitive for so many categories to see decreases when the overall totals are higher. However, several factors could cause this, including reporting practices of individual officers, the fact the crash reports are not yet all considered final, and the possibility there were increases in other categories not noted in this measure. Aggressive driving continues to be the leading cause of fatal crashes in the state and remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic numbers. Overall, speed related fatalities decreased by 7% from 2020, but is still higher than the 5-year average. Unbelted occupant fatalities decreased by 5% in 2021, but overall, 66% of the vehicle occupants killed in 2021 were not wearing a seat belt. Reported distracted driving fatalities decreased by 16% in 2021. One category that stands out for further investigation is the increase in intersection crashes. The 373 intersection fatalities are significantly higher than pre-pandemic results.
In conjunction with the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, MoDOT released the state's strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero in 2021. Show-Me Zero has four emphasis areas: occupant protection, distracted driving, speed and aggressive driving, and impaired driving. In support of this plan, MoDOT aims to improve roadway safety with every construction project. This year, the department has implemented several tools to help project teams adequately evaluate and address safety concerns as projects are being planned and designed. The tools include a new safety checklist to help during the scoping phase of the project as well as tools that help estimate and quantify the anticipated benefits of various 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. This year, MoDOT administered more than $21 million in grant funds provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
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.
Kansas City District
Assistant to State Highway Safety & Traffic Engineer
Highway Safety and Traffic