Fatalities on Missouri roadways eclipse 1,000 for consecutive years

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – According to Sgt. Clark Parrott, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E public information officer, 1,035 people died in traffic crashes on Missouri roadways in 2022.

And while this number is alarming, what is just as concerning to Parrott is the proportion of those people who were not wearing their seatbelt.

“Seventy percent of our fatalities last year were unrestrained. They are coming out of 12 percent of our population that does not wear their seatbelt,” he said.

Parrott said there are several ways the highway patrol is trying to encourage more people to wear their seatbelt. 

“Increased presence on the roadways, increased enforcement, but also education and information, trying to let the public know the importance of wearing a seatbelt,” he said.

Parrott said speeding, lane violations and impairment were the main culprits for those fatal crashes. 

“If we can get people to obey all traffic laws, put their phone down while they’re driving, and wear their seatbelt, 2023 will be a good year,” he said. “Through our enforcement education and information process, we are going to continue hammering those points and trying to drive home the fact that that’s what we need to do.” 

Parrott also said this is a good time to remind people of the importance of securing your child in a properly fitted car seat in addition to making sure your seatbelt is fastened correctly. 

When it comes to preventing fatal traffic crashes, you cannot be too safe. 

“First responders, law enforcement officers, we don’t like working those traffic crashes, so anything we can do to minimize those, anything we can do to make them more survivable, we’re going to take every opportunity we can,” Parrott said.

And it doesn’t take much to make a difference. 

“If we can get just one person today to put their seatbelt on, one person today to not drive distracted or impaired, then we’ve done our job,” Parrott said. “We’ll win today, and we’ll start all over again tomorrow, and we’re going to try to win tomorrow.” 

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