by Sarah Thomack
St. Joseph Post
Preliminary numbers show traffic fatalities dropped in Missouri for the third year in a row.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 876 people were killed in Missouri traffic crashes in 2019 down from 921 in 2018, a five percent decrease.
Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Angle with Troop H says the decrease is good, but the goal is always zero.
Angle adds that the numbers each year typically show 60 to 63 percent of people killed in traffic crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
"That’s where we can make improvements is getting people convinced of the absolute importance of every time you get in a vehicle - and I don’t care if you’re going a mile or a hundred miles, just to click that seat belt on - how it drastically increases your odds of surviving a crash," Angle says. "It also reduces injury in traffic crashes so if we could just get people to put those seat belts on, imagine how we could make that number drop drastically."
In addition to wearing your seat belt, obeying traffic laws and putting your phone down, Angle says another component to safe driving is planning ahead.
"It’s happened to all of us - we’re running late for work, we’re running late to a doctor’s appointment… we’re running late doing this or that," Angle says. "I know we live in a fast-paced world, but make a commitment to make extra time in your travels, that way you’re not rushed, you’re not stressed, you’re not inclined to speed, cut somebody off because you’re in a hurry."
While there was an overall decrease in traffic fatalities, there were increases in motorcycle fatalities and pedestrian fatalities. In 2019, there were 118 motorcyclists killed, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. There were 108 pedestrians killed in 2019 –the largest number of pedestrian fatalities in Missouri the past 10 years.