Traffic Safety Myths & Facts

Example of Myths
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.
Traffic Facts Graphic - Based on Statistics Form Missouri State Highway Patrol
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% of all accidents occurred in "clear" weather conditions -- just 2.97% in the snow. Road conditions were "dry" when 73.76% 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% 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 2008 - 27% - happened between noon and 3:59 p.m.
Myth: Most crashes happen on the highways and interstates.
  • Fact: In 2008, 44.18% of accidents took place on city streets - compared to 14.98% on state highways, 12.23% on interstates and 6.79% on U.S. highways. Among fatal accidents, most - 36.44% - 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%. Speed was a factor in 19.32% 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%) and "following too close" (13.87%) are also leading causes of accidents.
Myth: Fatal accidents almost always involve 2 vehicles colliding.
  • Fact: In 2008, 57.51% of all the fatal Missouri highway traffic accidents involved only 1 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 involved in just 1.87% of all accidents in Missouri in 2008.
Just The Facts
Seat Belts Save Lives!
In Missouri in 2008, 60.09% of traffic facility victims were not wearing seat belts.

Drinking & Driving Kills!
Just 4.87 out of every 100 traffic crashes in Missouri involved drinking. But these crashes proved especially deadly. Out of every 100 fatal accidents, 28.64% involved drinking.

Beware During The Holidays!
Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day represent just 1.6% of the entire year. Yet, in 2008, 8.75% of traffic deaths in Missouri happened on those holidays.