63 Percent of Fatalities were Unbuckled

JEFFERSON CITY – The year 2015 ended with an 11.4 percent increase in fatalities on Missouri roads. After two years of lower numbers, the fatalities in Missouri for 2015 were over 800 for the first time since 2012.

As of Dec. 31, 853 lives were reported lost in 2015 Missouri traffic crashes. Sixty-three percent of the drivers and passengers killed were not wearing seat belts.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the leading causes of fatal crashes continue to be speeding, driver inattention and impaired driving. A couple of new trends have emerged for 2015 including increases in improper lane use and substance-impaired driving.  Those crash trends are showing a 100 percent increase in expressway intersection fatalities and an 82 percent increase in overturning vehicle fatalities when compared to 2014.

“Fifty percent of those not belted were also ejected from the vehicle,” said Colonel Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “Seat belt use is the single most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries resulting from traffic crashes, so make sure everyone is properly restrained on every trip."

“Combined efforts in engineering, law enforcement, education, and emergency medical services aid in the reduction of roadway fatalities,” says MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. “With lower gas prices in 2015, we are seeing an increase in the amount of overall travel on Missouri’s roads. Drivers need to take a proactive role by wearing their seat belt and focusing on their driving,”

MoDOT offers the following tips to drivers to help prevent a fatal crash:

Never drive distracted.
Drive the speed limit and reduce speed for weather conditions
Be aware of your surroundings.
Always wear a seat belt and make sure your passengers are buckled up.
Never drive impaired by alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs.
Maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles.
Obey Missouri traffic laws.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is a partnership of safety advocates who have banded together to attack the problem of traffic crashes and deaths. Missouri’s Blueprint to Save More Lives serves as a guide to reach the coalition’s goal of reducing traffic fatalities to 700 or less by 2016. Here’s a list of the yearly fatality numbers for the last ten years:

2014 year end total = 766
2013 year end total = 757
2012 year end total = 826
2011 year end total = 786
2010 year end total = 821
2009 year end total = 878
2008 year end total = 960
2007 year end total = 992
2006 year end total = 1096
Highway safety begins with you. For more information visit www.savemolives.com.