Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Missouri Needs to Just Buckle Up Already

Two recent Missouri surveys have just been released showing 24 percent of Missourians still don’t buckle up and even more alarming, 34 percent of teens don’t. With all the statistics out there now supporting seat belt usage, and the frequent news stories about people being ejected and killed from their vehicles because they weren’t buckled, it’s amazing that all these people still fail to do the one simple thing to save their lives – buckle up.

I have heard all the excuses why people don’t buckle their seat belts: they’re uncomfortable, it’s my choice, I don’t want the government to tell me what to do, it only affects me, etc. What do I say to these people? We all have the right to offer our opinions, but if you want to live to share your viewpoint, you might reconsider clicking that belt.

Here’s a few reasons why you should buckle up:
1. Research shows that your chances of surviving a traffic crash are much higher if you just take two seconds and buckle your seat belt, that’s the truth.
2. It doesn’t affect just you. If you get injured or die in a traffic crash, your friends and family suffer emotionally and possibly financially, and ultimately we all pay a price either through insurance or medical bills. Also, if you’re driving or riding in a vehicle with other people and you are unbuckled, you become a projectile possibly injuring or killing those around you.
3. If you think seat belts are uncomfortable, try a wheelchair or coffin.
4. Physically it is your choice to wear your seat belt, but legally it’s not. Whether or not you like it, it’s the law that you have to buckle up!

What’s the reality in Missouri? In 2009, 878 people were killed in Missouri traffic crashes, and 67 percent of the vehicle occupants killed weren’t wearing a seat belt. Young drivers are overrepresented in crashes both nationwide and in Missouri. Of all 2009 Missouri traffic crashes, 24 percent involved a young driver (under age 21). Of all fatal traffic crashes, 17 percent involved a young driver. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15-20 years old.

What can we do? Besides the obvious – buckling up of course, we can encourage our family and friends to do the same. Everyone can also support a primary seat belt law in Missouri by talking to their legislators. Get more information at Buckle Up and Arrive Alive.