Missouri has a plan to greatly reduce fatal motor vehicle crashes over the next several years. It hinges on curbing three common and dangerous driving behaviors.
Fatal car crashes have risen in recent years. A federal report earlier this year showed a nearly 20% increase in motor vehicle accident deaths in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020. If the trend holds, there will be more traffic-crash deaths in 2021 than in any year since 2007.
An organization whose mission is to end fatal car crashes and serious car crash injures has developed a plan to address this deadly spike in Missouri. The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety introduced the plan several years ago. The plan is called “Show Me Zero,” with an ambitious goal of eventually ending fatal car and truck wrecks. Last year it updated the plan to cover 2021 through 2025.
Negligent Driving Behaviors in Missouri Traffic Accidents
The plan says that 90% of fatal motor vehicle crashes are caused by some sort of dangerous driving behavior. The plan aims to reduce three common dangerous actions:
· Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety calls distracted driving perhaps the most alarming and commonly observed dangerous driving behavior in the last five years. Cell phone use is a primary source of distracted driving. Unfortunately, Missouri is an exception rather than the rule when it comes to state texting and driving laws.
Distracted Drivers in Missouri
The only drivers in Missouri who are barred from texting and driving are those 21 years old and younger. Yet, according to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, 70% of drivers in Missouri crashes involving cell phone use are at least 22 years old.
Cell phone use is just one common driving distraction. In a federal report on distracted driving released in April, (“Distracted Driving 2019”), the U.S. Department of Transportation identified other driving distractions that lead to fatal crashes, including:
· Moving object in the car, such as a pet
· Adjusting the radio or climate controls
· Car passengers
· Eating or drinking
Drivers who speed or drive aggressively are another target to reduce fatal traffic crashes in Missouri. Four out of every 10 Missouri traffic deaths involve a speeding driver, making speeding or driving too fast for conditions the most common factor in wrecks in Missouri – occurring twice as often as drunk driving.
The plan cites aggressive driving, such as following too closely or improper passing, as another common factor in Missouri’s fatal car accidents.
Impaired Drivers in Missouri
The Show Me Zero plan to reduce Missouri’s fatal motor vehicle accidents also targets impaired driving. It reports that one in every five Missouri crash deaths involves a substance-impaired driver.
Drivers who are drunk or impaired by illegal drug use constitute the majority of dangerously impaired drivers. But Missouri’s “impaired driver” category also includes sleepy drivers and those taking medications that cause drowsiness.
Drowsy or fatigued drivers – depending on the amount of sleep deprivation – can be just as physically and mentally impaired as drunk drivers. Fatigued truck drivers are especially dangerous, as they are a common cause of fatal commercial truck crashes.
Overall, the plan calls for additional legal remedies for only one of these types of dangerous driving behaviors. It cites a need to tighten Missouri’s texting and driving laws.
The plan largely rests with enhanced educational efforts and individuals adopting a more wide-spread sense of personal responsibility to reduce these negligent actions.
Those who drive carelessly and cause fatal crashes in Missouri should be held accountable. If you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a crash caused by another driver, turn to a car accident lawyer to represent your legal rights to just compensation.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Articles January 12, 2022