Missouri has earned the dubious distinction of being ranked fourth in the nation for fatal crashes linked to speed, according to a recent study conducted by the law firm Heninger Garrison Davis, utilizing data from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA). The study analyzed 2021 statistics, revealing that Missouri experienced a staggering 931 fatal crashes, with 242 of them attributed to speeding—a concerning 25.99%, double the national average.
Surpassing Missouri in speed-related death ratios were only three states: Wyoming (28.43%), Utah (26.62%), and Virginia (26.49%). In the local context, Missouri State Highway Patrol data, specifically from Troop D in southwest Missouri, disclosed 187 fatal crashes, of which 63 were linked to speeding. Notably, Greene County accounted for 12 of these crashes, with Springfield recording seven.
An unnamed spokesperson from the Heninger Garrison Davis study emphasized the correlation between speed and road safety, stating, “The faster you travel, the less time you have to react to developing situations on the road, making a collision much more likely. Traveling at a higher speed also makes it significantly harder to stop or maneuver around a collision ahead of you.”
Alarming statistics continue to emerge, as MSHP reported a total of 1,028 fatal crashes in Missouri in 2022—the highest since 2006. While data on the causes of these crashes is still preliminary, Troop D reported 196 deaths, with 46 occurring in Greene County alone.
Notably, speeding is not the sole factor contributing to these fatalities; the study also highlights the role of seatbelt usage. In cases where seatbelts were present, 65% of deaths involved individuals who chose not to wear them, as per MSHP data for 2021. Specifically, Troop D in southwest Missouri accounted for 65 deaths without seatbelt usage, with an additional 16 in Greene County.
The concerning combination of speeding-related fatalities and the neglect of seatbelt use underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address road safety issues in Missouri. As the state grapples with the aftermath of these alarming statistics, it becomes imperative for authorities to implement targeted interventions to curb the rising trend of fatal crashes.