I buckle up every single time I get in a vehicle, and everyone riding with me does as well. But unfortunately according to our latest statewide survey results - nearly one in four Missouri motorists still don’t buckle up. With 77% seat belt use, Missouri is seven percent less than the national average of 84 percent. The bottom line of these statistics means that people who otherwise would probably be arriving home safely are dying on our roads.
In 2008, 489 people out of the 960 killed in Missouri traffic crashes weren’t wearing a seat belt. If you do the math, that’s more than half. It’s common sense to wear one – and yet some people still don’t.
So why aren't we measuring up to other states? We don't have a primary seat belt law is one reason. Research from other states shows that passing a primary seat belt law raises the usage rate and reduces fatalities and injuries. By law, we all have to wear our seat belt anyway, but making it a primary law allows our law enforcement to actually enforce it. It’s a simple change that costs us nothing but could gain us everything.
Some groups in our state are at even more risk from lower seat belt usage – teens only buckle up 62% of the time and motorists in the 10-county area near Joplin and Springfield only buckle up 66% of the time. We’re doing what we can to educate these folks with the Get Your Buckle On campaign that targets teens and tries to get more of them to buckle up, while a new Click It or Ticket campaign in the southwest area has local law enforcement officers cracking down on motorists who aren’t wearing seat belts.
Until we get a primary seat belt law, we’ll have to do our best to educate everybody about the importance of buckling up. Please help us. Visit saveMOlives and send your friends a postcard (www.savemolives.com/play/postcard.htm) reminding them to buckle up. For more information, visit http://www.savemolives.com/. Buckle Up and Arrive Alive!