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Missouri Department of Transportation

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MoDOT News Release 

For more information, contact Communications Manager Sally Oxenhandler at (573) 522-3375 or MoDOT Communications at (573) 751-3322.

February 14, 2018 01:42 PM
Missouri Mayors Show Support for Buckle Up/Phone Down Initiative

JEFFERSON CITY - A group of Missouri mayors came together today to voice their support for an initiative aimed at getting people to wear their seat belts and put down their cell phones while driving.


Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin spearheaded the effort to promote the Buckle Up/Phone Down campaign, an outreach program the Missouri Department of Transportation implemented more than a year ago. Tergin was joined by about 25 mayors, including Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure and Florissant Mayor Tom Schneider, in voicing support for Buckle Up/Phone Down, also known as BUPD on electronic message boards throughout the state.

“There are two simple acts that can save your life, and the lives of others,” Tergin said. “Buckle up and make sure every passenger in your vehicle is buckled up. If you’re driving, put the phone down.”

Added James: “Before people start driving and texting, they need to look around at every single person around them, be it passengers, pedestrians, or other drivers. They all have lives that are valuable and loved ones who care for them. When a person gets behind the wheel and sends a text or email or makes a call, they’ve decided that whatever they’re talking about is more important than the safety of the people around them. No text, email or phone call is more important than a life. That’s why I support MODOT’s campaign to get people to buckle up and put the phone down.”

Jaylen Butner, a Boonville High School student, supported the mayors’ comments by sharing his personal crash experience. He and a buddy were driving home from football practice when a car in front of them braked. Butner’s friend, the driver, swerved to miss the stopped car and hit a truck head on.

“If I hadn’t put my seat belt on that day, I wouldn’t be here today,” Butner said. “That’s how serious it is.”

Of the 688 people killed on Missouri highways in 2016, 62 percent of them were tragically not wearing their seat belts. In addition, the Missouri Highway Patrol reports that cell phones contributed to 2,470 crashes in Missouri in 2016, and statistics from AAA show texting increases the risk of a car crash by 50 percent.

Missouri is one of only 16 states with no primary seat belt law, and one of only three states without an all-driver texting ban.

MoDOT and the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, along with Mayors United for Progress, urge drivers to take their safety seriously by taking the Buckle Up/Phone Down challenge at modot.org/BuckleUpPhoneDown/.


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