MISSOURI — 2021 was a deadly year on Missouri highways, with the year-end total trending up. The state of Missouri saw 1,007 deaths from crashes on state roads.

That’s an increase from 2020… And the biggest total in more than a decade.

“It’s terrible, I hate driving on I-44.”

So local driver Kelly Bloom has a strategy to steer clear of highway accidents.

“I’ll find another route if possible.”

But for drivers who chose to highways, 2021 was a risky year. Missouri saw a 2% increase in traffic deaths, a total of 1,007.

“That is a significant number. It’s that highest it’s been since 2006 actually KHHKHKKLH sent me as a disappointing thing because obviously this is a conversation the state’s been having a blitz let’s try and reverse that,” said Mo St. Hwy. Patrol Trooper Sam Carpenter.

Seat belts were a big factor in those crashes – with six out of ten cases unbuckled.

The state is still analyzing trends – but MSHP Trooper Sam Carpenter says there are some key issues for drivers to avoid.

“Typically, the top three factors are failing to yield, too fast for conditions, and an alcohol. Alcohol is the number three contributing factor to our fatal crashes.”

He added, don’t assume you’re most at risk in bad weather or late at night. The trends don’t agree.

“You would think it would be on keto ice covered roadways are in the rain, or at night. And that’s just not the case that are the majority of our fatalities happen between 4 and 8 PM. And for the most, most of the year that’s during daylight hours. And they all have most of them happen on dry dry pavement.”

He also addressed distractions like texting and driving. And listening to the radio.

Carpenter urges all drivers to focus on the road, and especially now when wintry weather could make travel more dangerous.