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Missouri traffic deaths lowered in 2017

Wednesday, Jan. 31st 2018

By David Beuttel

HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) –

There were 931 traffic deaths in Missouri in 2017, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. That’s down from 2016, but local leaders want that number to be lower.

Texting and driving was a bigger problem in 2017 according to Missouri State Highway patrol. Driver Samantha Diffenderfer said since her daughter mallorey was born in June, she’s become more worried about distracted drivers.

“The scariest thing as a parent is going out and seeing people texting and driving and making poor decisions on the road because I can’t control what they do, ” Diffenderfer said. That’s very concerning as a mother.”

MSHP said in 2017 33 people died in traffic crashes in Northeast Missouri…that’s down from 40 in 2016…but, there’s still work to be done. Today, the Northeast Coalition for Roadway Safety met with one goal in mind: lower the amount of distracted drivers.

“I don’t think people realize how quickly something bad can happen by just taking a few seconds of your attention away,” Sgt. Eric Brown said. “In just a few seconds you’ve traveled the length of a football field or 3 or 4 depending on how fast you’re driving.”

Currently in Missouri, it is illegal for those under the age of 21 to text and drive, but the coalition said there are several proposals in the legislature than ban texting and driving for all drivers.”

“Hopefully with some new legislature, that might help, but yes there are quite a few people doing it and even swerving across the road which is so scary,” Diffenderfer said.

The coalition said Missouri is only 1 of 3 states to not have some sort of texting ban for all drivers. For Diffenderfer, one less distracted driver means better chances of getting her baby girl home safely.

“I encourage people to try and make better decisions while they’re driving. It would really help protect me and my child,” Diffenderfer added.

Officers say they still see a lot of fatal crashes where people aren’t wearing their seat belt. On average 64% of those who died in a crash were not wearing their seat belt, but in Northeast Missouri that number jumps to 72% according to local police.


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