National Safety Council gives Missouri 'F' grade in road safety

Posted at 2:31 PM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 19:41:15-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri is one of the worst states for road safety, according to a report from the National Safety Commission.

States were given grades based on their road safety by the National Safety Commission. The letter grades were based on alcohol-impaired driving, seatbelts, distracted driving, speeding, etc.

Missouri is one of nine states that received an "F" and was ranked 49th out of all the states.

Kansas received a "B" and was ranked 19th.

There are a few big differences between the states when it comes to what can be enforced on the roads.

“It’s frustrating from a law enforcement perspective when we go to investigate these crashes. 96 percent of them could be prevented by paying attention, driving the speed limit, not driving impaired and obviously not wearing your seatbelt,” said Sgt. Collin Stosberg from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

According to the National Safety Commission, Missouri is one of 18 states where the seatbelt law is a secondary offense, which means not wearing it can’t be the reason you get pulled over.

Missouri also has a texting and driving law that only applies to drivers under 21 or people who are driving a commercial vehicle.

“We might see 6 out of 10 people or more on their phone and that’s pretty scary and sadly we’re seeing those results in traffic crashes,” said Sgt. Stosberg.

In order to enforce safety on the roads, officers will look for other violations to pull over drivers.

“Those violations include following too close, lane violations, poor speed management,” said Sgt. Stosberg.

Across the state line in Kansas, drivers can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt as it’s a primary offense.

Texting and driving is also illegal in Kansas for drivers of all ages.

In both states, the most common reason for accidents is not paying attention.

“The most common cause for all accidents including intersection-to-intersection related accidents is just general inattention,” said Sgt. Eric Mccullough of Prairie Village Police.

In Kansas, the state is offering a new program to cities to help get drivers to pay more attention at intersections, blue confirmation lights. The lights are funded by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

When the light turns red, a blue light also comes on and an officer can see it from a safe location.

“This way we can sit downstream, monitor it and make the traffic stop in a safer manner for everybody, for us, for the other motorists,” said Sgt. Mcculough.

The blue light program is still in its pilot stages and it will be at least a year before they have data to determine if it is successful.

Missouri State Highway Patrol says November and December are the deadliest months on their roads.

The agency will be increasing patrols during this time to look for violations that can be enforced.