MoDOT begins seat belt campaign targeting teens

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COLUMBIA- According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, a new campaign encouraging teen drivers to wear seat belts began today. 

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety will target teens with this year's slogan "Buckle Up. It's No Joke." 

MoDot found that, as of 2013, the seat belt usage rate for teens is only about 67 percent. The national average for seat belt usage is 87 percent. 

MoDoT's press release stated that nearly seven out of 10 people killed in Missouri traffic crashes were not buckled. Nearly eight out of 10 teen vehicle occupants were not buckled. 

Craig Adams, the practical arts coordinator for Columbia Public schools, coordinates summer school driving programs in the district. 

He said seat belt use is heavily emphasized in the driving program. If the student doesn't put on his or her seat belt, the car doesn't move. 

He said buckling up only takes seconds to do.

"I know that if you're wearing a seat belt, you're much less likely to die in a car crash. It just stands to reason that that piece of safety equipment is there for a purpose," Adams said.