Posted: Jun 26, 2012 4:56 AM by Kerry Leary
Updated: Jun 26, 2012 6:43 AM
COLUMBIA- Missouri traffic deaths are on the rise for the first time in six years, according to Missouri Department of Transportation statistics. The data show 375 deaths in the first six months of 2012, 62 more than in the same period of 2011. In mid-Missouri, there are 11 more fatalities during the first six months of 2012 in comparison with 2011.
The six-year decrease is attributed to a crack down on driving under the influence. More than two-thirds of the reported accidents in 2012 involved people not wearing seatbelts and being ejected from their vehicles. Another common contributing factor is the inability to remain in one lane, which could relate to distracted driving.
MoDOT has an active Anti-texting while driving campaign. It is illegal for drivers under 21 years of age to use a texting device while driving. Missouri is one of 38 states to have regulations on texting while driving.
The highest increases in fatalities were in the southern and central parts of the state. Troop D, which includes Springfield and Joplin, reported a 59 percent increase from last year.
The highway patrol wants drivers to be more aware of the importance of paying attention while driving and wearing a seatbelt.