Percent of Seat Belt/Passenger Vehicle Restraint Use -1f

The ultimate goal is zero fatalities.

Seat belts save lives, but getting people to use them – even to protect their own lives – is a challenge. Public education is one way to keep the issue in front of motorists, along with legislation. MoDOT supports each approach, attacking the problem with focused marketing campaigns and reinforcing it with hard facts to back legislative efforts.

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Seat belts save lives, but getting people to use them – even to protect their own lives – is a challenge. Public education and legislation are two ways to keep the issue in front of motorists. MoDOT supports each approach, attacking the problem with focused marketing campaigns and reinforcing it with hard facts to back legislative efforts. Several municipalities across the state are taking matters into their own hands, enacting primary ordinances within city limits. Missouri currently has one county and 65 municipalities that have adopted primary seat belt ordinances, representing over 27.3% of the state’s population.

Based on 129,114 driver & front seat passenger observations, seat belt use in Missouri for 2021 was 88.0%, a 1.9% increase from 2020. Gasconade County was the lowest at 70.2% and McDonald County was the highest at 96.2% (weighted data). The national average for seat belt use in 2020 was 90.3% (2021 data is not yet available).  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on traffic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration waived the requirement for states to conduct a statewide survey in 2020.  While Missouri and 20 other states and territories conducted statewide surveys in 2020, 35 states and territories opted to utilize the NHTSA waiver.  Due to the large number of states and territories not conducting surveys in 2020, there is no ranking for Missouri as in the past.

MoDOT is improving its safety culture through statewide strategic initiatives such as Buckle Up Phone Down and by coordinating NHTSA -funded Click It or Ticket, Youth Seat Belt and Child Passenger Safety Campaigns, as well as providing educational programs such as TRACTION, B.R.A.K.E.S. and ThinkFirst.

Purpose of the Measure:

This measure tracks annual trends in seat belt use in passenger vehicles. This data drives the development and focus of the Missouri Highway Safety Plan and supports Missouri’s Show Me Zero Plan.

Measurement and Data Collection:

Each June, a statewide survey is conducted at 560 preselected locations in 28 counties. The data collected is calculated into a seat belt usage rate using a formula approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Data collection locations are selected from counties that represent 85% of the state’s vehicle occupant fatalities. While the data collection plan is the same each year for consistency, NHTSA guidelines require survey sites to be re-selected every five years based on updated fatality data.  The 2018 survey was the first survey using updated survey sites since Missouri’s new survey methodology started in 2013. The target for this measure is updated annually in October for the next calendar year.  This target is established as the current national average.

Results Driver

Contact Photo
Chris Redline
Chris Redline
Title
District Engineer
Department
Kansas City District
Contact Info

Measurement Driver

Scott Jones
Title
Highway Safety Program Administrator
Department
Highway Safety and Traffic
Contact Info