Despite large COVID-19 drop in driving, Missouri outpacing 2019 traffic fatalities by 12% | FOX 2

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Missouri is seeing an increase in traffic fatalities so far in 2020 despite reduced traffic volume due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Missouri is reporting 402 traffic fatalities, which is 43 more fatalities compared to the same time last year. The increase comes after three straight years of decline.

MoBikeFed comment: As we have mentioned before, our members and law enforcement officials all across Missouri have reported an strong increase in very fast driving as the streets emptied with COVID-19 restrictions.

It is only all too apparent now that fast driving is dangerous--far more dangerous even than it appears.

Governor Parson summed up the issue:

"Despite traffic volumes in the state dropping by nearly 50% for much of the year, traffic fatalities in Missouri are up 12% compared to 2019."

Fast driving creates several problems that make it more dangerous:

- Crashes at faster speeds are far more dangerous. For example, when a driver hits a pedestrian at 20mph, 90% survive. But increase that speed to 40% and 80% of pedestrians are killed

- Faster speeds mean far longer reaction times and stopping distances. At slower speeds, the driver can see potential problems and stop--completely avoiding a crash or injuries much of the time.

- At faster speeds, drivers simply can't see or process potential hazards.

Especially during the pandemic, as roads appeared to be nearly empty, drivers look ahead, see "nothing" and assume it is safe to step on the accelerator.

On a controlled access freeway, maybe.

But on local neighborhood streets, country lanes, and similar places we have seen very fast driving recently in Missouri, drivers simply cannot see every potential hazard at one glance down a long, straight road.

People walking, bicycling, kids playing, cars preparing to back out of a driveway, and a hundred other everyday events are not seen or anticipated.

And every one of them creates the potential for a fatal crash, if drivers are going too fast to see and react.

Drivers--please slow down.

Speed kills--and we've found that to literally be true in Missouri over the past few months.