We hope that this, our first St. Louis Personal Injury Blog post of 2019, finds you and your family happy and healthy in the new year. Unfortunately, not everyone was fortunate enough to escape 2018 safely.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has reported that 8 people were killed in traffic crashes in our state during the New Year’s holiday period. The Patrol said there were 352 crashes that resulted in 112 injuries and the aforementioned fatalities. Officials said there were also 127 DWI arrests across Missouri over the holiday.

This year’s grim statistics are up significantly over those recorded a year ago. The 2018 New Year’s period included 229 traffic accidents that included 77 injuries and 7 fatalities. Troopers arrested 129 drivers for DWI a year ago.

This year’s fatal crashes took place in Lee’s Summit, Weldon Spring, Jefferson City, Willow Springs, St. Joseph, Rolla and two in the Springfield area, law enforcement officials said.

One of the fatalities involved a 39-year-old Mountain View man killed when he drove off of the roadway. He was not wearing a seat belt, officials said. Another tragedy was especially bitter when a 16-year-old Urbana girl drove her vehicle off of a road and overturned. A passenger suffered injuries in the crash; neither was wearing a seat belt.

A 37-year-old Nixa woman was killed when she failed to negotiate a curve, crossed into the other lane and struck another vehicle head-on. Though she died (also not wearing a seat belt), the driver of the other vehicle, who was wearing a seat belt, escaped without injury, police said.

Clearly, the lesson to be learned from these terrible events is that everyone inside a moving vehicle should be buckled in at all times. It is literally a matter of life and death.