Missouri Highway Patrol reports more than 1,000 traffic crash deaths in 2021

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 1:48 PM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - For the first time since 2006, Missouri’s traffic fatalities surpassed 1,000.

According to preliminary data, 1,004 people were killed in Missouri traffic crashes in 2021, a nearly 3% increase over 2020 and marking the second straight year of growing fatality totals after nearly a decade of steady decline.

“These fatalities are unacceptable, alarming, and preventable,” said MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. “There are simple things we can all do to make a real impact on our roadways. Wearing your seat belt is your best line of defense in a crash and avoiding distractions can prevent those crashes in the first place. Buckle up, phone down.”

Lack of seat belt use continues to be a common denominator in fatal crashes. Approximately two-thirds of vehicle occupants killed were not wearing a seat belt. Preliminary data shows drivers using a cellphone were involved in more than 2,200 crashes in Missouri in 2021, although distracted driving remains widely underreported. And 40% of the fatal crashes in the year involved speeding or driving too fast for the conditions.

“The Missouri State Highway Patrol is dedicated to promoting safety upon our highways and working to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes,” said superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Eric Olson. “Every motorist who uses Missouri roadways plays an important role in reducing traffic fatalities. The public can help us prevent fatalities by paying attention to the full-time job of driving, obeying all traffic laws, and wearing a seat belt.”

Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, focuses on four ways every Missourian can help eliminate traffic deaths – buckle up, phone down, slow down and drive sober. For more information on the Show-Me Zero plan and to learn how all Missourians can help make the roadways safer, visit

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