Safety Partners Rally for Stronger Safety Belt Law
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and safety belt partners from around the state gathered March 4 at the Capitol to support HB 665, a stronger safety belt law in Missouri estimated to save 90 lives in its first year.
"It's exciting to see such statewide support for this life-saving initiative,” said Dale Findlay, executive director of the Missouri Safety Council, a coalition partner. “This bill will decrease the number of needless deaths occurring on Missouri roads.”
Nearly 70 percent of people who die in Missouri traffic crashes are not wearing a safety belt. Amending Missouri’s current seat belt law will save lives and prevent 1,000 serious injuries each year. In addition, Missouri would be eligible for a one-time incentive grant of $16-20 million.
Of more than 500 Missouri traffic laws, the current safety belt law is the only one that has a secondary enforcement provision – a driver must be stopped for another reason before they can be cited for a safety belt violation.
“You can be pulled over for a burned out taillight or outdated tags, but not for endangering your life and the lives of others by driving without a safety belt,” said Findlay.
More than 250 organizations and 2,000 individuals throughout the state have signed on as Primary Safety Belt Partners. Supporters of this initiative include insurance agencies, hospitals, ambulance associations, medical associations, law enforcement and concerned citizens.
A 2008 survey shows that 76 percent of Missourians are buckling up – that number is virtually unchanged since 2004 and is consistently below the national average of 83 percent.
For more information on safety belt use and a primary safety belt law, visit the coalition’s Web site at www.saveMOlives.com.