Missouri Car Accident Facts
There are several circumstances in which unsafe driving can occur. Some are avoidable, like texting and driving, and others are unavoidable, such as debris or animal interferences that appear suddenly. It is crucial for drivers to engage in as many safe driving habits as possible in order to avoid such accidents.
Unfortunately, many people become injured and even lose their lives due to unsafe driving practices. Read on to learn the facts and statistics about unsafe driving in the state of Missouri.
Missouri Crash Data
Based on data provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the number of people killed as a result of car accidents has consistently fallen since the year 1978 (the earliest date that data that is available). There are several reasons for this shift:
- Vehicles are consistently getting safer each year. Cars built in the 1970s didn’t have nearly as many safety features as brand new ones do.
- Drunk drivers aren’t killing as many people as they were in the past. Since just 2005, the number of fatal crashes in Missouri dropped from 266 to 189 in 2014.
- People wear seat belts now. In 1967, the National Highway Safety Board (NHSB) made it mandatory for all American vehicles to include them. Over 5 decades later, nearly everyone buckles up as soon as they enter a vehicle.
- Airbags save lives. Since their introduction in 1988, they have saved countless lives. Vehicles that are equipped with airbags save 11% more lives than those that aren’t.
- Roads are built safer than they were in the 1970s. America’s first diverging diamond interchange was built in 2009 in Springfield and decreased collisions by 60% during a five-month period compared to the old interchange.
There are several factors that cause unsafe driving and may lead to an accident. Some factors cause significantly more accidents than others.
The highest Missouri car accident rates are those involving an older driver aged 55 or above. This statistic has stayed relatively the same since the year 1997 at just above 40,000 instances. Fortunately, less than 1% of these types of crashes are fatal.
The second highest car accident rates in the state are those concerning young drivers aged 21 or less. Unlike crashes where older people were involved, this statistic has dropped significantly since the year 1997. Car accidents involving young people have dropped nearly 36%, from 50,841 car accident instances in 1997 to 32,763 in 2014.
Next comes speed. Although these crashes rank 3rd in terms of prevalence, speed involved crash rates are still relatively high compared to other types of crashes. However, these types of crashes have seen a reduction in frequency in almost 2 decades. From 30,150 in 1997 to 22,474 in 2014, which results in a 25% decline.
Commercial vehicles account for the next highest vehicular accident rates in Missouri. The state has witnessed a 33% drop in these types of accidents since 1997.
Alcohol-related accidents have also seen a relatively significant decrease since the ‘90s. There has been a 32% drop in these types of crashes from 1997 to 2014.
Motorcycle-involved wrecks are the least prevalent with only 2,253 instances in 2014. However, this is the only category that has actually seen an increase in accidents since 1997. There has been a 107% increase in these types of crashes since 1997.
Ways to stay safe on the road
With the winter months rapidly approaching, it is important to consider what makes driving unsafe. The following are some tips for keeping yourself safe on the road this winter:
- Don’t text and drive. Although it is not technically illegal for adults over the age of 21 to text while driving in the state of Missouri, it is never a safe practice and should always be avoided.
- Slow down. Pay attention to posted speed limits. Always assess the driving conditions and act accordingly. Wet and icy roads are slick and can cause tires to slide, which also makes turning the steering wheel more challenging.
- Always respect the right of way. It is crucial to yield when necessary, stop at every stop sign and proceed only when it is safe, as well as respect all traffic signals.
- Don’t drive left of center. The center of the road is the center of the road, regardless of lane markings. Stay in your driving lane at all times and always signal when changing lanes.
- Leave an adequate distance between your car and the one in front of you. It is never a good idea to follow the vehicle in front of you too closely. If there is a panic stop, you will have a lot less time to react and will likely rear-end the car in front of you. Avoid this completely by leaving 1 full car-length between you and the car in front of you for every 10 miles per hour of your speed. For example, if you are driving 60 miles per hour, you should drive no less than 6 car-lengths behind the car in front of you to avoid a collision in a last-minute situation.
Wherever your holiday travels take you this season, be sure to practice safe driving techniques. You never know when you could save a life by slowing down in misty weather or taking the time for an extra look around your vehicle before proceeding with a lane change.
Call Peterson & Associates today at (816) 298-8708 to speak with an attorney about your potential case.