JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KMOX)-After six years of decline, the number of people being killed in accidents on Missouri roadways is on the rise in 2012.
From 2005 through 2011, the number of traffic fatalities counted by the Missouri Highway Patrol fell 40%. So far this year, they’re up 21%.
Highway Patrol Captain Tim Hull says the primary reason is distracted driving, and the evidence can be seen in the accident reports.
Click here to go to the MHP accident report page.
A few recent reports include these descriptions: “vehicle traveled off side of the roadway”, “vehicle crossed the center line” and “vehicle travelled off right side of roadway.”
Hull says those are indications the driver was distracted, “It could be talking on the cell phone. It could be texting. It could be as simple as looking down to change the radio station and the right side tires fall off the edge of the pavement.”
And Hull says drivers often don’t react well, “They overcorrect when they run off the right side edge of the pavement and the vehicle is kind of sling-shotted over into the other lane of traffic. If there’s an oncoming car then you got a head-on collision there. If there is no vehicle coming from the other direction you still see vehicles go off the other side of the highway, overturn over the embankment or strike an object on the other side.”
Hull says distracted driving isn’t restricted to the unwise use of technology, “It could be somebody else they’re talking to inside the vehicle. They turn around to check on a child in the vehicle. Reading, eating, drinking, whatever it might be. Whatever that distraction is, it takes their full attention away from that full-time job of driving.”
In addition Hull says that two-thirds of those killed in accidents, are not wearing seat belts.
He says the increase in fatalities spans all age groups.