Janet Saidi contributed reporting from Columbia, Mo.
The number of people killed on Missouri roads is expected to be up slightly in 2012 compared with 2011.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says:
- 806 motorists have died so far this year, compared with 786 last year - about a 2.5 percent increase.
- That reverses five years of declines.
- As recently as 2006, more than 1,000 people were killed along the state's roads and highways.
"We are always concerned when an individual loses their lives due to a traffic crash," said Bill Whitfield, with MoDOT's highway safety program. "So a 3 percent increase is a concern to us. We don’t want anyone to die on Missouri’s roadways. We would like to see zero deaths occur over the course of a year."
Whitfield says the driver or the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt in 64 percent of the fatal crashes this year. Impaired driving is another frequent factor in deadly accidents.