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Missouri State Highway Patrol reports 12% increase in traffic fatalities

Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 9:38 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - When the pandemic hit, the Missouri State Highway Patrol saw a 40% decrease of those driving on the roads.

But that decrease led to more speeding and eventually a spike in crashes.

“Higher speeds means a more significant crash and more serious injuries," said said Trooper Sam Carpenter with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Trooper Sam Carpenter said MSHP has seen a 12% increase in traffic fatalities this year, resulting in 709 deaths.

“In the 709 fatalities that have happened so far this year 68 of them were unrestrained," said Carpenter.

In Troop D, the 18 counties that make up Southern Missouri saw 89 traffic fatalities, and 48 of those were without seatbelts.

“Seat belts actually work. You have to wear them in order for them to work for you . It’s an easy thing to do. It takes three seconds to buckle your seatbelt," said Carpenter.

He said more accidents happen closer to home because you become more complacent.

“You start to allow yourself to do other activities while you’re driving. There’s no room for being on your phone, playing with the stereo, looking in the back seat digging for something on the floorboard," said Carpenter.

Carpenter wants to remind drivers that it’s not just you that you’re putting in danger.

“Slow down, pay attention, don’t drive distracted and use those safety devices because they do work. With a percentage this high, 68% of unrestrained drivers in our fatal crashes this year, that could be hundreds of people that still could be alive and families that didn’t have to go through that experience," said Carpenter.

Back in April, the Springfield Police Department noticed an increase in speeders, despite the fewer drivers out on the road.

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