August 30, 2012

News Release

For Immediate Release

Fatality Traffic Crashes Increase

The City of Springfield Public Works Department has released the May 2012 Crash Report Card for Crashes from January 1 through May 31. There have been 7 fatality crashes (killing 9 people) this year compared to 4 fatality crashes in the same time period in 2011. The number of total crashes has decreased by 5% and the number of injury crashes has decreased 8% respectively compared to the same period last year.

June Safety Message
Statistics and Facts

Seat belts have been proven to be the best way to minimize risk of injury when in a crash. Of the 32,788 persons that died in traffic crashes across the United States in 2010, it is estimated that safety belts could have prevented death in over half of these incidents. During the first 5 months of this year in Springfield, at least 3 out of 7 traffic fatalities involved an unsecured occupant riding in a motorized vehicle (excluding motorcycles). Overall, the safety belt usage rate in Missouri has been estimated to be around 76 percent compared to 85 percent nationwide. Unfortunately, many people choose not to wear a seat belt for reasons like personal comfort, yet the facts are clear:

  1. The impact felt when crashing at a speed of only 15 mph is comparable with a person running into a wall without slowing down.
  2. If the impact speed is doubled to 30 mph in a crash, the impact force quadruples, which is comparable with the impact of a person falling the equivalent of three (3) stories in a building.
  3. Statistics suggest that you're 25 times more likely to die if you are ejected from your vehicle.
  4. Use a safety belt each time you ride in a vehicle. About 80% of all traffic fatalities occur within 25 miles of the home and under the speed of 40 mph.
Seat Belt Tips

For best protection the belt needs to be worn correctly. Both straps need to be snugly fitted across your hip and shoulder bones, as those body parts can take the transferred impact the best. If the belt is worn too loose, the body has more time to accelerate forward until the belt catches it. Further, the shoulder strap and lap belt work as a unit and therefore it is important to wear both.

Doctors advise pregnant women to continue wearing a car safety belt and not to disable the airbag. Studies have shown that unbelted mothers are more likely to have excessive injuries than belted ones. The lap belt needs to be placed across the hips and below the belly instead of across or on their belly. As the abdomen grows, the seat should be moved back accordingly. The mother's breastbone should be at least 10 inches from the steering wheel or dashboard, while still allowing the driver to reach the pedals.

Children need to always be secured in a seat designed for their age/weight group, and need to sit in an upright position (except infants). A recent study in Europe has shown that a child laying across the back seat in a sleeping position, strapped down with only the lap belt, suffers crash injuries that are almost as deadly as those who are ejected from the car without seat belt protection. The same is true for adult passengers who place their legs on the dashboard. For more information on child safety or to view a calendar of child car seat check up events in Springfield, go to: www.safekidsspringfield.org.

For more information and other great resources, visit:www.savemolives.com or contact Mandy Buettgen in the Traffic Engineering Office at (417) 864-1980.

city of springfield

Department of Public Works

840 Boonville Avenue • P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1900 • springfieldmo.gov