MSHP urges caution as Missouri traffic deaths up 7% from last year

Published: May. 16, 2020 at 9:17 PM CDT
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Missouri State Highway Patrol says traffic fatalities are up from this time last year.

As of Thursday, Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Sam Carpenter said there have been 275 roadway deaths in the state this year, up 7% from this time last year.

"I do think that's directly related to the high speeds that we've been seeing," said Carpenter.

He said, while traffic is just now picking up as the state and the Ozarks open back up, many speedy drivers are still treating the roads as if they were as clear as they were weeks ago.

"Which is why our crashes have gone up. We just need everybody to slow down and be safe," Carpenter said.

In just the last two weeks, traffic citations for drivers going more than 26 miles per hour over the speed limit jumped by 92%, according to MSHP.

"You know a lot of people try to argue that speed isn't that big of a deal, driving in excess of the speed limit isn't that big of a deal, " Carpenter said. "It's a huge thing for us because that does directly relate to the significance of the injury or the significance of the crash. That's what causes our fatalities, those higher-speed crashes."

With Memorial Day weekend just one week away, troopers are urging drivers to be extra cautious.

"Everyone's going to be out, having a good time, going to their parties and everything," Carpenter said. "Just be mindful of that, be mindful of increased traffic. Do us a favor obey the laws. They're there to keep you safe."

He said during last year's Memorial Day weekend, there were more than 1,000 crashes and a total of eight deaths.

"If you're going to involve alcohol or anything that is going to impair you, we just ask that you have a designated driver," Carpenter said.