JEFFERSON CITY – Wearing a seat belt is your best defense in a traffic crash. Make the difference. 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. Unfortunately, car crashes remain the number one cause of death for teens, and often times, a seat belt makes all the difference. Law enforcement will be out in full force March 15-31 to crack down on unbelted teen drivers and help save lives.
“The national average for seat belt usage is 91%. Missouri is below that average at only 86%, and teens in Missouri fall even lower at 75.5%,” said Jon Nelson, MoDOT assistant highway safety and traffic engineer. “We want to see those usage numbers go up, because it will absolutely result in fewer fatalities on our roadways.”
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 185 teenagers killed as vehicle occupants in traffic crashes from 2017-2019, 72% were not buckled up.
- When properly used, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front-seat passenger vehicle occupants by 45% and reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50%.
To give Missourians a better understanding of the crash problem, namely seat belt usage, impaired driving, distracted driving and excessive speeding, Missouri’s state highway safety plan called Show-Me Zero identifies specific ways everyone can help to make our roadways safer.
With no primary seat belt law or all-driver texting ban in Missouri, motorists are asked to personally take the challenge to Buckle Up Phone Down. Put your cellphone down while driving and always make sure you and your passengers are buckled up.
For more information on the Show-Me Zero plan and teen seat belt safety, visit saveMOlives.com, or find us on social media at Save MO Lives.