Sixty-three people died on Missouri roads in February

3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago Thursday, March 12 2020 Mar 12, 2020 Thursday, March 12, 2020 1:35:00 PM CDT March 12, 2020 in News
By: Kathryn Merck, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY - Sixty-three people died in Missouri traffic crashes in February, according to MoDOT, a sharp increase in the rate of fatalities in January.

There have only been 10 days in 2020 with no fatal traffic crashes. There were 12 days in February alone where three or more people were killed in a crash, including six Super Bowl Sunday fatalities, according to MoDOT. 

“One life lost is one too many,” said Nicole Hood, MoDOT State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer, in a news release. “The majority of these deaths are preventable by simply slowing down, buckling up and putting your phone down.”

Preliminary statistics show that 72% of drivers and passengers killed in 2020 crashes were related to unbuckled seatbelts. Compared to 2019, this is a 9% increase in the number of unbuckled occupants killed, according to MoDOT. 

MoDot Highway Safety and Traffic's program, Missouri’s Buckle Up Phone Down campaign, has seen success with more than 500 businesses and 13,000 individuals pledging to adopt those two life-saving steps. Seat belt usage has increased by 6.3% in the last three years in Missouri and fatalities dropped 6% during that same period.

MoDOT says the February results are a reminder there remains plenty of work to do in both spreading and adopting the message.

“It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s free,” said Hood referencing the proper use of a safety device. “There have been countless tragedies on our roadways that could have been prevented with the simple use of a seat belt. Likewise, many of these crashes would not occur in the first place if we all embrace our responsibility to drive in a safe manner.”

To combat these fatal crashes, MoDot Highway Safety and Traffic says that simple, conscious, and consistent choices can ensure that March and the remainder of 2020 result in a better outcome.

“As you take your daily commute or simply drop the top on the convertible for a sunny spring drive, please remember the simple steps we can all take to ensure a safer transportation system:  drive sober, slow down, buckle up and put your phone down,” Hood said. “Together, we can all do our part to move Missouri closer to zero traffic fatalities.

For additional information regarding roadway safety or Buckle Up Phone Down, visit www.saveMOlives.com or www.modot.org/bupd.

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