Making Teens Click
According to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, hundreds of teens still die every year in traffic crashes and the large majority of those killed are not buckled up.
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety released survey results Monday from a June survey, which shows 61 percent of teens are wearing their seat belts as compared to 58 percent in the same survey last year, an increase of 3 percent. Overall seat belt usage in Missouri is at 75 percent.
Of the 153 teens who were killed in traffic crashes in 2006, 73 percent were not buckled up. Comparatively, in 2005, 158 young people were killed, and 88 percent of them were not wearing a seat belt.
"It is great to see we are making a difference with some of our youth," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the coalition.
"But it is scary to think how many young people still don't wear a seat belt and are dying in traffic crashes. We're tripling our efforts to make it click," Depue added.
Three ways the Coalition is working to make a change are:
1. The Coalition is continuing to reach out to teens with programs like Battle of the Belt, a high school seat belt challenge which kicked off in early September and runs through the end of the year. More than 100 schools are expected to take the challenge with students performing surprise seat belt checks at their high school and then reaching out to members of the student body with an educational campaign on the importance of seat belt use.
2. An education/advertising campaign with the "Never Made It" theme also begins today and runs through late October. It focuses on media that reaches teens - radio, cable television and the internet. The campaign culminates Oct. 15-21, a week designated as National Teen Driver Safety Week.
As part of the focus on teens, during October law enforcement agencies around the state will also make an extra effort to reduce injuries and deaths among Missouri's young motorists. Missouri's Graduated Driver License law requires safety belt usage for teens and their passengers.
3. The Coalition is also working to install a greater amount of more visible signs about Missouri's seat belt law as a reminder to both drivers and passengers to buckle up. The new signs have a bright red color to help attract attention and they'll be placed more frequently on both major and minor roads and at rest areas across the state over the next year, beginning in October.
"We want all our young people to make it to homecoming, graduation and into old age," said Depue.
"We're working together with hundreds of safety advocates across the state to make sure they get where they're going safely," added Depue.
For more information, please visit www.saveMOlives.com. Buckle Up to Arrive Alive.