By WHITNEE ICE
St. Joseph Post
Even during a coronavirus pandemic that greatly reduced the number of vehicles on the roads, the state of Missouri saw a significant increase in traffic fatalities during the year 2020.
Missouri traffic fatalities increased by 12 percent compared to last year.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 989 lives were lost on Missouri roads in 2020, up from 881 in 2019.
Jake Angle, Public Information Officer for Troop H, says Northwest Missouri specifically saw a significant increase in traffic fatalities.
"During 2020 Troop H recorded 38 fatalities for the year and that was in comparison to 2019 which recorded 31 fatalities so that showed a 22% increase," Angle tells St. Joseph Post.
Angle says close to 70% of those who died last year were not buckled-up.
"Imagine if we could get everybody to buckle up," says Angle. "How many lives could have been saved and what those numbers might have looked like, so seatbelt use is just critically important. We can definitely correlate it back to the number of fatalities that occurred, so I just encourage people please, please wear your seatbelt."
Angle says it is critically important for you to put your seatbelt on.
"We want to see those numbers going down so we're tackling it head on for 2021," says Angle. "Try to make some changes, increase enforcement and as usual, we're going to be out there every day like we are every day and have been for every day enforcing the traffic laws, high visibility, strict enforcement and try to get people traveling safely on the roadways."