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      Traffic fatalities up in Missouri

      According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol preliminary totals show that traffic crash fatalities were higher in 2012 than in 2011.

      In 2012 there were more than 800 traffic deaths across the state of Missouri, which is 3 percent increase from the previous year.

      Sergeant Brent Bernhardt, the Public Information and Education Officer with Missouri State Highway Patrol, tells us a simple buckle up could have prevented many of those fatalities, and it only takes three seconds.

      "Of course our totals are preliminary and what we did see last year was the first quarter of the year we saw a huge spike in the number of traffic fatalities in our state. At one point we saw a 30 percent increase from the previous year," said Sgt. Bernhardt.

      Sgt. Bernhardt says it has a lot to do with the warmer weather and wild winter we've had, allowing more people to travel.

      He says they also saw an increase in motorcycle fatalities.

      A new program called Click it for Life has been implemented by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The goal of the program is to help bring awareness to motorists, to make sure everyone inside the vehicle is properly wearing a seat belt.

      Sgt. Bernhardt said he knows without a doubt that seat belts saves lives and many lives could have been saved last year.

      "One thing that really stood out though is that over 60 percent of all the people that have died in Missouri traffic crashes last year died not wearing a seat belt," said Bernhardt.

      The highway patrol says seat belts give you a 40 to 50 percent greater chance of surviving a car crash.