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Traffic Safety Myths & Facts

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There are lot of myths about traffic safety:

  • You’re safer driving in your own neighborhood on city streets.
  • Most wrecks happen at night.
  • Speeding is the biggest factor in nearly every accident.

Separate fact from myth:


MYTH: Most traffic accidents in Missouri happen in nasty weather — thunder storms, freezing rain, snow — when the road conditions are hazardous.

FACT: According to Missouri State Highway Patrol, in 2008 (the last year for which complete statistics are available), 58.47 percent of all accidents occurred in “clear” weather conditions — just 2.97 percent in the snow. Road conditions were “dry” when 73.76 percent of accidents occurred.

MYTH: “All accidents” might include a lot of fender benders. The worst crashes, the fatal accidents, take place in the bad weather.

FACT: In 2008, among fatal accidents, the percentage that occurred on “dry” roads was even higher at 79.29, and 57.11 percent happened under “clear” weather conditions.

MYTH: There’s more traffic during the rush hour in the morning and evening, so there’s obviously more accidents reported during those times.

FACT: Most accidents in ’08 — 27 percent — happened between noon and 3:59 p.m.

MYTH: Most crashes happen on the highways and interstates.

FACT: In 2008, 44.18 percent of accidents took place on city streets — compared to 14.98 percent on state highways, 12.23 percent on interstates and 6.79 percent on U.S. highways. Among fatal accidents, most — 36.44 percent — happened on city streets.

MYTH: Speed is almost always a factor in accidents.

FACT: Inattentive drivers accounted for most of the accidents in 2008 at 27.77 percent. Speed was a factor in 19.32 percent of all accidents, with driving “too fast for conditions” being a bigger problem — by nearly 6 to 1 — than exceeding the posted legal speed limit.

Failing too yield (15.78 percent) and “following too close” (13.87 percent) are also leading causes of accidents.

MYTH: Fatal accidents almost always involve two vehicles colliding.

FACT: In 2008, 57.51 percent of all the fatal Missouri highway traffic accidents involved only one vehicle.

MYTH: It’s more dangerous driving in the city than in rural areas.

FACT: In 2008, statewide 696 of the 960 traffic deaths occurred in rural areas.

MYTH: A lot of accidents are caused by drivers with physical impairments.

FACT: Drivers with physical impairments were inovled in just 1.87 percent of all accidents in Missouri in 2008.

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