How Unsafe Are Missouri Drivers?

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According to one measure, Missouri drivers are unsafe compared to most other states.

In December the website Car Insurance Comparison posted a review of the nation’s drivers, noting especially the top 10 states for having the “worst drivers.”  While Missouri did not fall within the top 10, the Show-Me State came close, finishing at 14 out of 50 for having the most unsafe drivers in the United States.

Negligent, Unsafe Driving Behaviors

Based largely on data from the federal government, the authors determined the rankings based on five unsafe driving categories:

  • Death rate
  • Failure to obey (such as not having a valid license)
  • Careless driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding

Of those specific dangerous actions, Missouri fared the worst for failure to obey (ranking 2nd worst of all states) and speeding drivers (9th worst). Missouri also ranked 9th last year for having the most speeding drivers.

For the record, Alaska had the worst drivers, according to this ranking, and Utah the best.

In November, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a more complete report on traffic accidents and traffic safety in the United States.  Using the newest finalized data, from 2018, the NHTSA’s report – “Traffic Safety Facts 2018” – paints a comprehensive, big-picture look at unsafe driving habits in Missouri and the country.

Nearly 34,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2018, including 4,951 who died in accidents involving commercial big rigs. Of the fatal commercial truck crashes in 2018, 71 percent of the deaths were occupants of other vehicles.

Fatal Car Crashes in Missouri

In Missouri, 921 people lost their lives in 848 fatal car wrecks. St. Louis County and St. Louis City were two of the top three Missouri counties for highest number of traffic crash deaths.

The NHTSA published another report for 2018 (“Summary of Motor Vehicle Crashes”) that further illustrates careless driving behaviors and their consequences for innocent victims.

That report says that, in 2018, one person was killed every 14 minutes in the United States in a motor vehicle crash. Speeding drivers and drivers under the influence of alcohol were major causes.

There was, on average, one drunk-driving death every 50 minutes across the country, or a total of 10,511 people killed due to someone driving while intoxicated. More than a quarter of Missouri’s 921 traffic accident deaths involved a crash with a legally drunk driver.

NHTSA also bolsters the Car Insurance Comparison finding of Missouri’s troubles with speeding drivers.  In 2018, 40% of Missouri’s traffic fatalities involved a driving who was exceeding the speed limit.

Only six states had a larger percentage of deaths due to speeding drivers than Missouri. And the number of deaths due to speeding drivers in Missouri in 2018 jumped 6% over 2017.

In 2018, 31% of all speeding drivers involved in Missouri’s fatal car crashes were also legally under the influence of alcohol. And in every state, including Missouri, speeding drivers involved in deadly accidents were more likely to be drunk than non-speeding drivers who were in fatal wrecks.

2018 was a dangerous year for pedestrians.  On average a pedestrian was hit and killed by a driver every 84 minutes in the United States.  Overall, pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents rose 3.4 percent over 2017 and accounted for 17% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2018.

Pedestrian deaths represented 10% of all of Missouri traffic accident fatalities that year, placing it in about the middle group of states for walker deaths.

This litany of grim fatal motor vehicle crash statistics reflects the clear and immense responsibilities drivers have to act responsibly behind the wheel. Speeding, driving drunk, and driving distracted are all careless behaviors that constitute by any definition a negligent driver and, similarly, a “worst driver.”

Irresponsible drivers should be held to account for their bad acts.  If you were seriously injured or you had a family member die in a car crash caused by a driver in another vehicle, speak with a personal injury attorney about 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 December 18, 2020

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