Missouri traffic fatalities are up nearly 20 percent from last year after a six-year decline, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Kansas City police reported just one additional fatality within the city as of June 18, compared with the same period last year. But the Troop A territory of the Highway Patrol, which includes the Kansas City area among 13 west-central Missouri counties, experienced a nearly 18 percent increase in traffic fatalities.
There have been 73 traffic deaths in Troop A this year as of Sunday, compared with 62 in the same period in 2011. Statewide, traffic fatalities were up to 375, compared with 313 in 2011, the patrol said.
“While not a contributing factor to fatal crashes, an alarming fact is that over two-thirds of these occupants were not restrained by a seat belt,” said Col. Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Highway Patrol, in a public service announcement urging people to buckle up.
An analysis of the crash reports indicates that a common theme of contributing circumstances is swerving over the center line or off the right side of the road, the patrol said.
The number of traffic fatalities in Kansas City stood at 32 as of June 18, compared with 31 in the same period last year.
The highest increases in fatalities were in the southern and central parts of the state. Troop D, which includes Springfield and Joplin, reported a 59 percent increase from last year.
By contrast, Troop C, which includes St. Louis, and Troop H, which includes St. Joseph, both experienced small declines in traffic fatalities.