JEFFERSON CITY – Preliminary reporting for 2019 indicates Missouri traffic fatalities have dropped for the third year in a row. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 876 lives were lost in Missouri traffic crashes in 2019 down from 921 in 2018, a five percent reduction.
While the modest gains are encouraging, the state still has a long way to go in achieving the ultimate goal – zero traffic fatalities in Missouri.
“Another year of reductions in traffic fatalities is encouraging, but it’s difficult to celebrate considering we still had nearly 900 people killed in Missouri traffic crashes,” said MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. “The frequency with which we’re losing people simply traveling from one place to another is unacceptable. We owe it to each other to make better choices behind the wheel and create a safer transportation system for everyone.”
Although there was an overall reduction in traffic fatalities, there were increases in motorcycle fatalities and pedestrian fatalities. In 2019, there were 118 motorcyclists killed, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. Likewise, there were 108 pedestrians killed in 2019 –the largest number of pedestrian fatalities in Missouri the past 10 years.
While weather and road conditions can come into play, traffic crashes are largely the result of someone simply making a poor decision, even if only for a moment. The top contributing factors of Missouri traffic fatalities continue to be lack of seat belt use, driving too fast, impairment, and distraction.
“Drivers carry a huge responsibility in driving a vehicle, and other road users like pedestrians carry a huge responsibility in using the roadways,” said MoDOT Assistant to the state Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Jon Nelson. “Nearly all of these fatalities are preventable when we make good choices and resolve to use the transportation system in an appropriate manner. Make the right choice every trip. It may save your life and the lives of others.”
MoDOT recommends the following actions to help prevent fatal crashes:
- Always wear a seat belt and use appropriate child safety seats.
- If riding a motorcycle or bicycle, always wear a helmet and other protective gear.
- Never drive distracted. Put your cell phone down.
- Obey the speed limit and other traffic laws.
- Never drive impaired. Always arrange for a sober ride.
Two simple actions we can all commit to – Buckle Up Phone Down. Take the Buckle Up Phone Down Challenge at http://www.modot.org/bupd and encourage others to do the same. Do your part to create a safer Missouri.