MoDOT team creates multi-cultural safety message

St. Louis workers encourage drivers to Buckle Up Phone Down in a variety of languages

How do you say, “Buckle Up Phone Down?”

When your employee base is as diverse as the Missouri Department of Transportation, the ways seem nearly unlimited.

St. Louis Community Liaison Shirlyn Myles took camera in hand to give MoDOT employees a chance to voice the Buckle Up Phone Down message in their native languages. The two-and-a-half minute video shares the important safety message in a variety of languages including French, Spanish, Thai, Igbo, Arabic, Croatian, Tigrigna-Eritrean, Amharic, Dutch, English and American Sign Language.

“MoDOT is a multicultural agency, and Missouri is home to many cultures,” said Tom Blair, MoDOT district engineer in St. Louis. “Our St. Louis team wanted to encourage everyone to buckle their seat belts and put their phones down while driving—especially during the holidays.”

MoDOT initiated the Buckle Up Phone Down—or BUPD—campaign two years ago to encourage drivers to buckle their seatbelts every time they get in the car and to put their cellphones down or turn them off if necessary when driving. Since then, more than 5,000 individuals and nearly 450 businesses have accepted the Buckle Up Phone Down challenge.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes in the United States. In 2017, 932 people died in crashes on Missouri highways. Sixty-four percent of vehicle drivers and passengers were not wearing a safety belt.

According to AAA, texting increases the risk of a car crash by 50 percent. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for nearly five seconds. At 55 mph, that is the same as driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded.

“This video not only gives MoDOT the opportunity to celebrate its diversity of cultures, it also helps spread the vital BUPD message in a truly unique way,” Blair said. “Enjoy. Share. And encourage your family to take the Buckle Up Phone Down challenge at”

Watch the video at:

Districts Involved