Holiday weekend traffic fatalities projected to hit 8-year high

8 months 3 weeks 2 days ago September 02, 2016 Sep 2, 2016 Friday, September 02 2016 Friday, September 02, 2016 2:53:00 PM CDT in News
By: Max Diekneite, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - The National Safety Council projects more people will die on the road this Labor Day Weekend than any year since 2008. 

Sergeant Scott White of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said many of these deaths could have been prevented, if only the person would have worn a seatbelt. 

“Year after year, the fatality car crashes that we work, it’s about 60 percent of those people that are involved in those fatal car crashes that are killed are not wearing a seatbelt,” White said. 

According to a newly-released MSHP report, last year's Memorial Day weekend proved to be extremely dangerous for drivers. Ten drivers were killed, 508 drivers were injured, and 121 people were arrested for driving under the influence. 

Brittany Barnett's 18-year-old brother. Mathius, died in a car accident in April. Mathius was a junior at Jefferson City High School, and he and Brittany were inseparable. She said he would still be alive had he been wearing his seatbelt. 

"If he was wearing that seatbelt, it probably would have saved his life," Barnett said. "I lost my best friend."

She visits the place he died regularly. She said it's hard, and she doesn't understand why people don't change their bad habits. She sees people speeding by the spot where Mathius died, despite the obvious memorial. 

"It makes me kind of sick to my stomach to know this is where it happened, and that people still drive carelessly as they see it everyday," she said. 

White said he has three pieces of advice for people planning to drive this weekend:

  1. Wear a seatbelt 
  2. Slow down
  3. Watch out for other drivers

White said the first tip, wearing a seatbelt, is the most important. 

“Seatbelt's are the thing that make the difference. They may not prevent car crashes, but a lot of time they do predict the outcome,” White said. 

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