Traffic fatalities up in area, across Missouri

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Traffic fatalities are up nearly 20 percent statewide from last year, the first increase after six years of decline, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. Fatalities are up 19 percent for Troop E, which covers 13 counties in Southeast Missouri.

The state recorded 375 traffic fatalities from Jan. 1 through June 25 this year, compared with 313 in the same period for 2011, the department said. Troop E counties recorded 32 fatalities during the period in 2012 and 27 in 2011.

There were 784 fatalities in Missouri in 2011. In 2005, the state had 1,257 traffic fatalities during the entire year, Capt. Tim Hull said. The state had 821 in 2010 and 878 in 2009.

In Troop E, there were 66 fatalities in 2011, 79 in 2010 and 85 in 2009.

Swerving over the centerline or off the road is a common theme in the accidents, troopers said.

Hull said two-thirds of the automobile occupants in fatal accidents this year were not wearing seat belts.

"We are operating special campaigns aimed at reducing noncompliance for seat belts," he said. "If people get pulled over and they are not wearing a seat belt, they will get a ticket."

The highest increases in fatalities for the first six months of the year were in southern and central Missouri. Troop D, which includes Springfield and Joplin, reported a 59-percent increase from last year.

Troop C, which includes St. Louis, and Troop H, which includes St. Joseph, both had small declines in traffic fatalities. Troop B, in northeast Missouri, remained the same for the period.

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