(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) 2020 was a deadly year on Missouri roads, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The latest numbers show the state saw a 12% increase in the number of fatality accidents.
"We don’t want to see that number up," Sgt Jake Angle, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop H, "We don’t ever want to see an increase when we’re talking about fatalities across the state."
Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation said the news came despite a dip in overall traffic on these roads because of the pandemic.
"Even though there are less people using the roadways, we’re seeing an increasing trend in the number of deaths resulting in car crashes." Jonathan Nelson, Highway and Traffic Division MoDOT said.
The breakdown for Northwest Missouri is worse than the rest of the state. The area saw a 22% increase in traffic accidents last year compared to the year before.
The worst news from the fatalities involves pedestrian accidents, Nelson said the state saw an unprecedented 126 pedestrian fatalities.
The highway patrol and MoDOT said the reason for the increase isn't clear.
"It can be tough sometimes," Angle said. "There’s a lot of factors that weigh into those numbers at the end of the year."
Angle and Nelson said there are easy solutions to bringing these numbers back down.
"We need people putting their seatbelts on, cell phones down and giving 100% of their attention to the job of driving." Angle said.
"People have to drive better, roads have to be designed better and safely laws have to be enforced." Nelson said.
MSHP said they regularly conduct enforcement operations to combat driver behaviors that lead to fatalities. MoDOT has started a new program aimed to educate drivers on how to make roads safer.