Often in this blog we report on fatal automobile accidents around the state of Missouri. The Missouri State Highway Patrol publishes their traffic crash reports online. In those reports, is a special box noting whether the individual involved in the vehicle crash was wearing a “safety device” or seatbelt. For anyone who tracks these tragic occurrences, it becomes immediately apparent that the incidences of death are often closely associated with the failure of the accident victim to wear a seatbelt.
Last week the Missouri Department of Transportation released a report on a survey conducted by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety on seatbelt usage in Missouri. The annual survey involved more than 127,720 observations of drivers and passengers in 460 locations in both rural and urban areas. The survey found that approximately 79 percent of drivers in Missouri wear seatbelts, which is three percentage points higher than last year’s figure of 76 percent. The usage of seatbelts by teens remained roughly the same at 67 percent as compared with 66 percent last year. These numbers are well below the national average of 85 percent.
Drivers of pickup trucks ranked as one of the lowest seatbelt users with only 66 percent utilizing their seatbelts. Of the 152 crash reports involving the deaths of people driving pickup trucks last year, 87.1 percent were unbuckled.
The Missouri Department of Transportation continues its educational campaign “Click it or Ticket,” incorporating some new strategies this year. Encourage your loved ones to always wear their seatbelts, particularly those that are teenagers with no sense of their mortality and those pickup drivers in rural areas who often get out of the habit, given the nature of their work. You may save a life.