Traffic fatalities on the rise in Missouri and Illinois - KMOV.com

Traffic fatalities on the rise in Missouri and Illinois

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The scene of a fatal single vehicle accident in Ladue. (Credit:KMOV) The scene of a fatal single vehicle accident in Ladue. (Credit:KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Whether it's to go to work, school or run errands, we spend a lot of time behind the wheel.  

Unfortunately, deadly crashes are up in 2016 on both Illinois and Missouri roads.

Traffic enforcement officers say the increase is because many drivers are distracted on the roads.     They also say relatively low gas prices have contributed. When a gallon of gas is cheaper, more people drive, meaning more congested roads.

There have been nearly 2,000 people killed on roadways in Missouri and Illinois combined in 2016.

In Missouri, the Department of Transportation says there is a six percent increase in fatal crashes, 874 compared to 824 in 2015.

IDOT reports just over a thousand fatal crashes, 70 more than the previous year. Authorities have tried to combat distracted driving with digital message boards along the roadways. The idea is to remind motorists to focus on the road, rather than getting lost in their thoughts.

“They've been extremely instrumental in decreasing injury crashes, fatal crashes. A lot of times drivers are day dreaming, there's been studies that prove that drivers are daydreaming or they're all into their music or phone conversations and all of a sudden they see that message board with however many deaths in that county, it makes them slow down,” said Illinois State Patrol trooper Calvin Dye Jr. “It makes them get off the phone, it makes them pay attention to the roadway.”

Troopers are also focusing on seat belt compliance from drivers. According to MoDOT, 60 percent of those 874 drivers who lost their lives this year were not wearing their seat belt.

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