A campaign focused on seat belt usage by Missouri teens begins Friday. Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross talk to MoDOT Youth Coordinator Carrie Wolken:
During this time, law enforcement will focus attention on areas such as schools and other locations where teen drivers are more prevalent. “We do this mainly because teenagers don’t wear their seat belts very often, “said Wolken, ” There’s only about 66% of Missouri teens that actually do and that fact is seat belts save your life if you’re in a crash.”
Officials says the statistics indicate a need for this type of program. “Drivers under the age of 21 comprise 8% of the licensed drivers in the state, but were involved in nearly 25% of the traffic crashes over the past three years,” said Wolken, ” Also, 209 teens have died in Missouri traffic crashes during that time and 78% of those were not buckled up.”
The campaign runs though the 31st of March.
Under Missouri’s Graduated Driver License Law, seat belt use is required for young drivers. It is a primary offense. Unfortunately 34 percent of Missouri teens don’t buckle up. To lower that percentage, law enforcement will be out in full force March 15-31 to crack down on unbelted drivers and save lives.
One in four Missouri traffic crashes involves a young driver. Between 2010 and 2012, 243 teens (15-19) were killed in traffic crashes. Of those killed, 78 percent were unbuckled.
“Many drivers take the attitude that ‘it will never happen to me,’ especially teens, but fatal crashes happen every day to all types of people,” said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “Law enforcement will ticket teens who aren’t buckled up.”
Missouri will also continue to educate teens on the importance of buckling up through statewide seat belt programs, such Battle of the Belt and Team Spirit.
“The best way to reach teens is through their peers,” said Depue. “We’re asking teens to help save the lives of their friends by reminding them to buckle up every time they get in a car.”
For more information visit saveMOlives.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter at Save MO Lives. Buckle up and ARRIVE ALIVE.