Missouri State Highway Patrol officials said as of this month, statewide traffic deaths are up 16 percent from this time last year.
Hannibal resident Wayne Rodgers said all it took was one reality check for him to obey the rules.
“I wasn’t paying attention and I about hit them and that’s a wake up call,” he said. “That’s what told me to quit doing it.”
Hannibal Fire Department’s Public Education Coordinator Mark Kempker said there are three things driver’s can do to stay safe.
“Make sure that you’re seat belted in, make sure that your children are seat-belted in and that its done properly,” he said. “Put that phone down. Don’t be talking on the phone while you’re driving. There’s rest stops everywhere so plan your trip accordingly if it’s a long trip.”
Kempker said following those tips could be the difference between life and death. He said as one of the first to respond in traffic accidents, most if not all could be prevented if people paid more attention.
“Today as I was driving my vehicle, I noticed someone to the side of me that was driving their vehicle and their phone was right here,” he said. “So that’s not really safe. If a child ran out in front of that vehicle and they had to stop, they wouldn’t be able to.”
Rodgers said driving distracted is irresponsible and not worth it.
“Because you’re going to endanger your life or someone else’s,” he said.
Kempker said it’s also motorcycle and ATV season, two modes of transportation where authorities have been seeing an increase in fatalities across the state.