JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) - After six years of decreasing fatality rates, the number of deaths on Missouri highways is on the rise in 2012.
“Since January 1 of this year, Missouri has seen an increase in traffic crash fatalities compared to the same period of time last year,” said Col. Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “Please give your full attention to driving, Drive according to the traffic laws of this state, and remember that seat belts can and do save lives, so please buckle up.”
Captain Tim Hull with the Highway Patrol finds it hard to believe that Col. Replogle still has to add that last part about buckling up in this day and age.(Missouri Seatbealt Law)
“Unfortunately some people still won’t wear their seatbelts,” he told KMOX News. “But in two-thirds of these crashes where people have been killed this year, they’ve not been belted in.”
Through just the first couple of months of 2012, Missouri has experienced an increase of 29 traffic crash fatalities over this point last year.
Another common theme in those fatal crashes has been so-called “cross-over” crashes which includes one car crossing over the center line and smashing into an oncoming vehicle head-on.
Just last week, there was a cross-over crash on Hwy. 52 near Tuscumbia Missouri in which an entire family was killed, except for a 2-day old child who was thrown clear but escaped with minor injuries.
Another potential problem, according to the highway patrol — distractions behind the wheel.
“That could be playing an important role,” admitted Capt. Hull. “Driver inattention continues to be the number one contributing circumstance to all traffic crashes in the state of Missouri.”
Current state law prohibits drivers under the age of 21 to text while behind the wheel, but has no specific ban on talking on a cell phone while driving.
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