Thursday, August 9, 2012

Roadway Coalition Works to Improve Low Seatbelt Usage by Young Drivers

Young drivers in Missouri just aren't buckling up like they should. Over the last three years, 254 teens were killed in Missouri traffic crashes, and 75 percent of them were not wearing seat belts. During a random survey performed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, several schools around the state were pinpointed having 50 percent or less teen seat belt usage rate in 2011. Many of the schools were in Northwest Missouri.
"We have been looking at ways to target the areas with low seat belt usage among teens, and one of the most common suggestions heard was to get the communities involved," said Jackie Spainhower, regional blueprint director for Northwest Missouri.
In an effort to raise these rates, and keep the teens and citizens in those areas safe, representatives from MoDOT and the Missouri State Highway Patrol visited some of those area schools before school dismissed to discuss their seat belt usage numbers, let them ride the patrol's seat belt convincer and/or see a docu-drama or what the effects and impacts of an accident could be.
"We worked with some of the schools to educate students about the importance of buckling up at the end of the school year, and now we want to remind everyone to please buckle up and Arrive Alive," Spainhower said.
Under the Graduated Driver License Law, teens are required to wear their seat belt and it's a primary offense, meaning they can be pulled over solely for not wearing their seat belt. Teen seat belt use in Missouri is only 67 percent, much lower than state (79 percent) and national (85 percent) seat belt use for all drivers.
"Young people are inexperienced and substantially over-involved in traffic crashes. Without a seat belt, the combination can be deadly," Spainhower said.
All survey results are available at More information about safe driving is also available by calling MoDOT at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636), logging onto, following MoDOT's Northwest Missouri District on Twitter at or on Facebook at

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