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News Brief

June 27, 2012KANSAS CITY, MO |  By: AP

Fatalities Up

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says traffic fatalities are up nearly 20 percent from last year, the first increase after six years of decline.

The state recorded 375 traffic fatalities this year, compared with 313 in 2011. The patrol says swerving over the center line or off the road is a common theme in most of the accidents. The highest increases in fatalities were in the southern and central Missouri. Troop D, which includes Springfield and Joplin, reported a 59 percent increase from last year. The Kansas City Star reports ( that Troop C, which includes St. Louis, and Troop H, which includes St. Joseph, both had small declines in traffic fatalities Col. Ron Replogle says over two-thirds of the occupants in the accidents were not wearing seat belts.