Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

#JustDriveKC: 17% Increase in Missouri Traffic Deaths from Last Year

KMBC recently reported that highway traffic deaths are up nearly 20% from last year. The article quotes Sgt. Andy Bell from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who understandably expresses frustration at the increase. Such a leap in deaths is indeed troubling and Bell believes speeding and lane violations caused by texting and driving are the biggest contributors to the deaths. In my experience handling distracted driving cases in Missouri, Sgt. Bell hits the nail on the head.

Nearly every crash is caused by some form of distraction. Inevitably, the driver who causes a crash was not paying attention to the road. Take, for example, a rear-end collision case. What’s the most likely reason a driver would hit a car from behind? Brake failure? The other driver stopped too suddenly? Or, the driver failed to notice the slowing or stopped car? Every rear-end collision case I’ve handled has been because the driver wasn’t paying careful attention.

Then the question becomes, what is the most likely source of the driver’s distraction? In the many crash cases I’ve handled, I’ve seen ducks on the side of the road as an excuse, looking at other parts of the road, and even the radio. But, by far the most common source of distraction in my crash cases has been phone use. Everything about modern phones is meant to draw your attention and get you to use it. They’re also ubiquitous; everyone has one. My experience with these cases is in line with Sgt. Bell’s beliefs.

Please pledge to buckle up and put the phone down when driving. Everyone needs to take a stand against distracted driving and help reverse the trend of increasing traffic deaths in Missouri. Learn more about the dangers of distracted driving, and how you can stop doing it, on our #JustDriveKC page.