JEFFERSON CITY –A rise in speeding and other reckless driving behaviors continues to be a disturbing trend in 2021. During the first half of the year, more than 450 people lost their lives in a crash on Missouri roadways. The primary causes are all too common: excessive speeds, distraction, impairment, and choosing to not wear a seat belt or motorcycle helmet.
So far during 2021, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers have issued more than 16,000 citations to drivers traveling 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, a 9% increase from the same time period in 2020. “Traveling too fast reduces a driver’s ability to react to changing conditions, increases stopping distance, and reduces the effectiveness of occupant protection equipment in your vehicle,” said Missouri State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Eric Brown.
Following the August 2020 repeal of the all-rider helmet law, motorcyclist fatalities are up 33% and the number of unhelmeted riders killed in crashes increased from two in the first six months of 2020 to 31 so far in 2021.
“The increase in motorcycle fatalities is very concerning, but so are the overall trends” said Missouri Department of Transportation’s Assistant State Highway and Traffic Engineer Jon Nelson. “We see the same behaviors coming into play over and over again, and the reality is, these crashes don’t have to happen. You can take these simple steps to keep yourself and your passengers safe: wear a seat belt or motorcycle helmet, put your phone down, and slow down.”
As we near the halfway point of the “100 Deadliest Days”, those days between Memorial Day and Labor Day when traffic fatalities are most prevalent, it’s imperative to be mindful of safety every time we use the roadways. Doing so may mean the difference between life and death.
Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, provides information and strategies all Missourians can use to promote four key messages: buckle up, phone down, slow down, and drive sober. More information and resources can be found at www.savemolives.com.