MoDOT: State road deaths dip, Mid-Missouri deaths up
JEFFERSON CITY- As of today, the Missouri Department of Transportation says there is a 3% decrease in road fatalities in 2018 statewide, but in Mid-Missouri, the number of deaths is set to be higher.
Missouri Highway Patrol Sergeant Scott White said that last year 68 people died from accidents, but that number as of now has increased by 20% to 82 in Mid-Missouri.
White said 70% of those fatalities involved unbuckled drivers.
Statewide, MoDOT said as of Wednesday, 2017's number of 932 deaths has dropped to 877 this year.
Jon Nelson, the assistant to the State Highway Safety and Traffic Division, said the number of fatalities can fluctuate, but attributes the reduction to MoDOT’s efforts to increase awareness for factors in deadly crashes.
Trent Brooks, MoDot's central district traffic engineer said that overall 60% of this years’ fatalities were due to motorists not wearing seatbelts.
Nelson said the most common causes for fatalities and critical accidents are aggressive driving, impaired driving and distracted driving.
“Impaired driving makes up about 20-25 % of the fatalities in this state,” said Nelson.
The holiday season, according to Nelson, is known for large amounts of travel which which leads to more opportunities for crashes. Nelson said MoDOT sees “significant increases in traffic crashes during holiday periods specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
MoDOT wants to remind people to take precautions while traveling to prevent these numbers from rising. Nelson said he advises people to slow down and be patient.
“We would love to see that trend continue to the end of 2019 and end the year on a positive note,” said Nelson
The Missouri Highway Patrol’s website provides a breakdown of crash statistics.
White urges the public to get on board with the statewide efforts to increase seat belt usage, and to put down their phones.