With colder weather approaching, many families in Missouri find themselves driving less often. This would appear to mean a reduction in the number of motor vehicle accidents. However, area law enforcement says that data they have compiled tells a different story. They have found that the rates of fatal car crashes have risen sharply compared to figures from last year.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol assembled the data based on crash rates for this year so far. The report shows that although traffic has gone down significantly, fatal crashes are up 12%. More than 700 fatalities have been attributed to traffic accidents. What’s more, police say that their records indicate that 68 of those deaths happened to people who were not using any safety restraints, such as a seat belt.

One state trooper says that he often sees collisions happen in close proximity to the victim’s home. He says this is because people often feel more comfortable in an area that they are familiar with, leading them to let their guard down and possibly engage in distracted driving. He also says that speed often plays a role in these crashes, which is concerning because law enforcement has noted a rise in speeding as well.

A car crash can be devastating to the victim’s loved ones in any circumstance, but it can feel especially tragic if it seems as though it could have been prevented. In Missouri, families have the right to hold a negligent driver responsible for the death of a loved one by way of the civil court system. A wrongful death claim may not only hold a responsible party accountable, but it could mean monetary compensation for a grieving family. An attorney with knowledge of the law as it pertains to civil claims and motor vehicle accidents is often a valuable resource.