According to a national evaluation of roadway safety conducted by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the state of Missouri “fall dangerously behind” roadway safety and law standards. Missouri, which has seen a progressive increase in traffic accidents & fatalities over the last few years, can expect a continued increase, especially if the state doesn’t reform its current traffic laws and regulations.
Missouri Labeled “Red – Falls Dangerously Behind” Advocate’s Optimal Laws
The 2020 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws report card, which evaluates state-by-state statistics of roadway accidents and laws, ranked the state of Missouri amongst the lowest states for roadway safety last year. Advocates broke downstate traffic laws into five categories:
- Occupant Protection Laws
- Child Passenger Safety Laws
- Teen Driving Safety Laws
- Impaired Driving Safety Laws
- Distracted Driving Laws
Amongst every category, Advocate’s established a baseline of optimal traffic safety laws and regulations necessary for every state to carry to ensure state roadway safety. These laws are easily implementable and prove to have a drastic impact on the number of fatal accidents that occur.
States are graded on a three-color system:
State is significantly advanced towards adopting all of Advocate’s recommended optimal laws.
State needs improvement because of gaps in Advocate’s recommended optimal laws.
State falls dangerously behind in the adoption of Advocate’s recommended optimal laws.
Breakdown of Missouri Roadway Safety Grade
Missouri’s overall grade was based on the state’s implementation (or lack there) of optimal traffic safety laws and regulations in each of the five categories.
Missouri Occupant Protection Laws
Primary Enforcement of Seat Belt Law for:
- Front-seat occupants
- Rear seat occupants
- All rider motorcycle helmet law
Missouri Grade: RED Missouri only carries one optimal law – the All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law. In 2016 in Missouri, 301 lives were saved by seat belts but 109 more could have been saved if more strict seat belt laws were in place.
Missouri Child Passenger Safety Laws
- Rear-Facing through 2-year Law
- Booster Seat Law
Missouri Grade: RED Missouri carries neither of the optimal laws. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for American children ages 5-14. An average of three children under the age of 14 was killed every day in an auto accident in the U.S. in 2016.
Missouri Teen Driving Safety Laws
- Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
- 6-Month Holding Period Provision
- 50 Hours of Supervised Driving Provision
- Passenger Restriction Provision
- Age 18 for Unrestricted License
Missouri Grade: RED Missouri only carries one optimal law – the 6-Month Holding Period Provision. 4,853 people were killed in an accident involving a teen driver in the U.S. in 2016.
Missouri Impaired Driving Safety Laws
- Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) for All Offenders
- Child Endangerment Law
- Open Container Law
Missouri Grade: YELLOW Missouri carries two optimal laws – but lacks an Open Container Law. More than 10,000 people died in auto accidents involving a drunk driver in the U.S. in 2016.
Missouri Distracted Driving Safety Laws
- All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction
- GDL Cell Phone Restrictions
Missouri Grade: RED According to the NHTSA, in the U.S. in 2018 there were 2,841 people killed in accidents involving a distracted driver.
Missouri’s Overall Grade for Roadway Safety: RED
Unless the state of Missouri takes the necessary actions to implement the optimal safety laws suggested by Advocates, St. Louis car accidents can be expected to continue to surge over the next few years. According to the report, Missouri is expected to do little in the form of reformative action, at least in the next year. Driving is a responsibility we owe to ourselves and others to take seriously. By taking responsibility, we can become a part of the solution to reduce the number of car accidents in Missouri.