JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s that rubber squealing on concrete, or the sounds of shattering glass that signals traffic has come to a screeching halt.

Fortunately, traffic crashes are down in Joplin this year but it doesn’t stop there.

That overall total has shrunk in the first six months of the year, but it’s not the only number police are following.

“We are trending about 778 total crashes,” said JPD Capt. Will Davis.

A number that’s down from the last few years. But deadly wrecks are up from 2021.

This year, six proved fatal according to Davis.

“133 crashes have resulted in some sort of injury to either the driver or passenger pedestrian, somebody was injured of some sort. And then 639 crashes resulted in some sort of property damage,” said Davis.

But overall, a four-year comparison shows 2022 with the lowest six-month number. 2021 was significantly higher and 2019 topped them both with 927 wrecks.

Davis is hoping to see the 2022 trend even more through the end of the year.

“We want to do everything we can to try to reduce those numbers. So, we’re hoping that second half of 2022 we can go to traffic enforcement, attend to driving cooperation from the motoring public that we can help reduce our crash numbers, reduce our fatality numbers, reduce the number of injuries,” said Davis.

He points to ongoing issues with following too closely or failing to yield to the right of way.

Distractions behind the wheel are also a big problem.

“Limit that use of a cell phone, texting and driving. People that are eating, putting on makeup, reading, reading a cell phone, whatever it may be. Just pay attention to your general surroundings. It’s not only your safety as a driver, it’s also the safety of others that are around you,” said Davis.

Officers are stressing defensive driving to try and stay out of future wrecks and to hopefully lower numbers through the end of the year.