ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Last year saw big increases in traffic fatalities in Missouri and Illinois.

The National Safety Council says Missouri had 939 traffic fatalities in 2016, up nine percent from 2015 and up twenty-four percent from 2014.

“This is the worst year that we’ve had since 2007, and it’s the largest two year increase in fatalities in over fifty years,” says the National Safety Council’s Deborah Hersman.

Illinois fatalities totaled 1078 last year, up six percent from 2015 and 18 percent from 2014.

According to Hersman, alcohol, speeding and distractions are the leading causes of the fatalities, with thirty percent of all crashes involving alcohol impaired drivers, and another thirty percent involving excessive speed. Hersman says texting and driving also continues to be an issue.

“Many drivers, particularly those in our survey, almost fifty percent said they would text behind the wheel, even though they were concerned about texting and safety,” she says.

(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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