Fatalities in Missouri car crashes on the rise

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, historically there are more than a thousand car crash fatalities in the show-me state per year.

From 2006 through last year, the rates went down and were the lowest since the 1940's.

But numbers this year are going back up.

One of the major factors that cause fatal car crashes are distractions, which include texting and talking on a cell phone while driving.

"We use them to communicate with our businesses. We use them to communicate with our families and report emergences. But they have to be used at an appropriate time, and that is when you are pulled off the shoulder or in a safe location to answer or send a text or make that phone call," said Sergeant Brent Bernhardt of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop B.

Speeding and drinking and driving are other factors that lead to fatal crashes.

Bernhardt also added that more than two-thirds of people killed in car crashes were not wearing their seat belts.

Experts say it only takes three seconds to put on the seat belt.

Simply making that a habit could save your life, or the lives of your loved ones.

"They say that each one of us will be in a traffic crash once in every 10 years of our lives. In that traffic crash, we have a 1 in 50 chance of being killed or seriously injured. Seat belts at a minimum give you a 40-50 percent chance of surviving a traffic crash. So those are tremendous chances," Bernhardt said.

A seat belt law in the Show-Me-State has been in effect since 1986.

If saving lives isn't reason enough to buckle up, not wearing your seat belt can result in a fine if you're pulled over by law enforcement.