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Missouri State Highway Patrol sees increase in fatalities

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(WSIL) -- As 2020 comes to a close, the Missouri State Highway Patrol wants to remind you to stay safe and alert.

Tuesday, they reported nearly 1,000 people lost their life on the roads statewide in a year when many were suppose to stay home because of the pandemic.

Sergeant Clark Parrott from Missouri State Highway Patrol says they've reported 946 fatal crashes in the state this year.

That's at least a 10% increase from last year, which was 863 fatalities.

Sergeant Parrott says the biggest contributors are people not following traffic laws, speeding, distracted and impaired driving.

And 68% of those crashes involved unbuckled drivers including eight fatalities over Thanksgiving break.

He says they will have "hazardous moving operations" for the next two weeks to monitor any traffic violations on the roadways.

As the holidays approach, he says Troopers strongly recommending drivers to wear their seatbelts.

"We worked one last week with a 17-year-old here. I believe it was Butler County and it's typical crash. Car runs off the road and struck a tree. The driver was not wearing a seat belt and he died in the traffic crash and that's something that bothers us greatly," he said.

Parrott says distracted driving has also been a huge concern.

They've reported drivers who drive with dogs in their lap, eating, messing with the radio or looking down at the laptops have led to accidents.

With the holidays coming up, they are also looking out for impaired drivers and recommend looking for a designated driver or riding service.

"Nobody wants to end the year or start the year with a driving while intoxicated arrest on their record and having to move forward into 2021 with court appearances," he said.

Parrott also recommends drivers to get their cars serviced before traveling to avoid car malfunctions, which could be preventable.

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Maya Skinner

Maya Skinner is a Multimedia Journalist at News 3 WSIL. Maya joined the team in 2019 and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Communication with a focus in Mass Media.

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