JEFFERSON CITY – Wearing a seat belt is your best defense in a traffic crash. Give yourself a chance to live. Always buckle up, everyone, every trip, every time.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety wants to remind teens how dangerous a car ride can be if they don’t take wearing their seat belt seriously. Law enforcement will be out in full force March 15 -31 to help improve teen seat belt use and save lives.

“The national average for seat belt usage is 90 percent. Missouri is a bit below that average at 87 percent, but our teens in Missouri come in even lower at 74 percent,” said Jon Nelson, MoDOT assistant to the state highway safety and traffic engineer. “We want to see those numbers go up as we know it’s our best bet for reducing teen fatalities in traffic crashes.”

Consider some of the reasons you should choose to wear your seat belt:

Under Missouri’s Graduated License Law, permit drivers and all passengers must wear seat belts.

Of the 88 teenagers killed in Missouri traffic crashes in 2017, 77 were vehicle occupants and 54 of them (70 percent) were not buckled up.

When properly used, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front-seat passenger vehicle occupants by 45 percent and reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50 percent.

With no primary seat belt law or all-driver texting ban in Missouri, teens and all motorists are asked to personally take the challenge to Buckle Up Phone Down. Put your cell phone down while driving and always make sure you and your passengers are buckled up.

For more information on teen seat belt safety and Buckle Up Phone Down, visit, or find us on social media at Save MO Lives. ARRIVE ALIVE.