ST. LOUIS – MoDOT said crashes and fatalities are at an all-time high across the state. Road and safety leaders are now urging drivers and lawmakers to make major changes.

MoDOT’s lead engineer Nicole Hood said Missouri hit its highest amount of fatal and serious crashes in more than 15 years. MoDOT said many of these crashes are caused from drivers speeding through the construction zone. Hood said Missouri needs a lot of improvement when it comes to both distracted driving and law enforcement.

Missouri held its annual traffic and road safety conference in Jefferson City this week. It’s the first in person conference since the pandemic, with more than 500 people across the nation coming to discuss ideas to improve safety.

Hood is calling on all drivers to do their part to eliminate fatal crashes.

“It’s important that all Missourians realize they have a role in improving safety,” Hood said. “So, it’s about all of us working together, it’s about that shared responsibility. I love the theme of the conference is no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. So it’s that simple quote that means all of us can do something to help change this unfortunate trend that we have right now with the fatalities on our roadways.”

The state has also launched a safety initiative called “Show Me Zero,” which is aimed at trying to eliminate those fatalities and serious crashes.

Hood said Missouri is one of only two states in the country that does not enforce hands-free driving. So, MoDOT is also calling on state legislatures to pass better safety public policies.