Missouri still below national average for safety belt use

6 days 8 hours 41 minutes ago May 17, 2017 May 17, 2017 Wednesday, May 17 2017 Wednesday, May 17, 2017 10:54:00 AM CDT in News
Source: Missouri Department of Transportation
By: Gage Jackson, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY — Safety belt usage rate in Missouri has been on a steady incline over the past 17 years, reaching as high as 81 percent in 2016, according to a press release from the Missouri Department of Transportation. However, MoDOT says the state is still well below the national average of 90 percent.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is teaming up with state officials and law enforcement May 22- June 4 as part of their national "Click It or Ticket" campaign to share the importance of buckling up.

"Safety belts decrease your risk of dying in a crash by 45 percent," said Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent, Sandra Karsten in Wednesday's release. "And last year alone, 943 livers were lost in Missouri crashes — 64 percent of them being unrestrained."

The release also had a reminder from Highway Safety Director Bill Whitfield about the need to put the phone down when behind the wheel.

"Even if you are'nt texting and driving, another driver could be. It's still vital to wear your safety belt at all times — it could save your life," Whitfield said.

The coalition wants to remind drivers to assure that all passengers are buckled in before driving, including children in the appropriate restraints. Missouri's child safety seat survey revealed that when the driver of a vehicle was not buckled up, 33 percent of children were also not buckled. However, when the driver of the vehicle was strapped in, 98 percent of children were also restrained. To ensure safety, make sure that kids are using an appropriate car seat for their height and weight.

The coalition said that children should travel in rear-facing car seats until age 2 or until they've grown out of the seat. Children should remain as back seat passengers until the age of 13.

For more information about Click It or Ticket, visit www.saveMOlives.com.

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