SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Missouri State Highway Patrol released traffic statistics after Labor Day weekend. 

The counting period began at 6 p.m. Friday, September 1, and ended at midnight on September 4. 

In that counting period, the Highway Patrol reported 12 traffic deaths in crashes on Missouri roadways. 

Troopers say they’re investigating nine of those deaths.  

Among the remaining three, two are being investigated by Joplin and one is being investigated by Springfield Police. 

“It’s one of the biggest travel periods that we have in any holiday as far as road traffic, simply because of milder weather and lakes and rivers being a premier destination,” Sgt. Mike McClure said.  

The Highway Patrol reported a total of 306 crashes, 146 injuries, 12 deaths, 199 DWIs, and 19 drug arrests. 

That’s up from 286 crashes, 119 injuries, seven deaths, and 121 DWIs in 2022. 

McClure says one factor contributing to the crashes this past weekend is the number of cars on the road.  

“There’s just more people traveling,” McClure said. “There’s really no rhyme or reason to why more, more accidents occurred.” 

In Southwest Missouri, this weekend was the continuation of a deadly trend.  

“We have about a 2% increase this year from where we were this time last year,” McClure said. “This time last year we had 130 fatalities as of September 3, and this year 133.” 

McClure adds that patience and good driving habits can help keep people safe. 

“Obey all traffic laws. Watch your following distance,” McClure said. “Seatbelt usage is always a factor, whether you know it. Most of those times, it’s about 63% of the fatalities that we work are unbuckled.” 

The Highway Patrol says this past weekend, there were 11 crashes on the water and two injuries.