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Missouri car accident fatalities in 2012 up from previous year

Wearing a seat belt is literally a matter of life and death, and many traffic fatalities can be prevented if seat belts are used. Unfortunately, data recently released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol showed an increase in the number of traffic fatalities in 2012, and in many of these cases, seat belts were not worn. The number of car accident deaths in our state was 818 in 2012, up from 786 fatalities in 2011.

The Highway Patrol cites alcohol use, distracted driving and speeding as the major causes of traffic accidents on state roadways. They estimate that two-thirds of the fatal accidents in our state involve individuals who are not using seat belts. However, those who use seat belts can increase their odds of surviving a car crash by 50 percent.

It is against Missouri state law not to wear a seat belt, but some are encouraging stricter seat belt laws. Currently, the fine for not wearing a seat belt in our state is $10, but drivers cannot be stopped and ticketed only for that reason. If stricter laws are put into place and enforced, it is estimated that 100 lives could be saved statewide every year.

Accidents still happen, regardless of whether an individual is wearing a seat belt or not. Car accident survivors in Missouri may be able to recoup any financial losses resulting from a crash through a personal injury claim. If there is a fatality, family members of the decedent may be able to file a wrongful death suit. In either of these situations, successful litigation typically depends upon sufficient proof that the accident was caused by the negligent actions of another.

Source: stjoechannel.com, "Missouri Traffic Fatalities Increase in 2012," William Seay, Jan. 2, 2013

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