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Missouri Department of Transportation

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MoDOT News Release 

For more information contact Laura Holloway at 573-751-5414 or Sandy Hentges at 573-526-4141

October 01, 2008 12:00 AM
Teens Still not Making it Click
Teen Seat Belt Survey Reveals Little Change

JEFFERSON CITY - It's still not clicking with Missouri teens that wearing a seat belt provides the single best chance for survival in a car crash.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety released results today from a spring survey, showing only 62 percent of teens are wearing their seat belts -a very modest increase from last year's 61 percent. Even less likely to buckle up are teens in pickup trucks - less than 50 percent. The teen usage rate continues to be dramatically lower than the overall state seat belt usage rate of 77 percent.

There is no doubt that this behavior is affecting lives. In the past three years, 415 young vehicle occupants (ages 15-19) died in Missouri traffic crashes - 80 percent of these teens were not wearing seat belts.

"Teenagers need to understand that we're talking about the difference between life and death," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the coalition. "It's frightening to think how many young people still don't wear a seat belt and are dying in traffic crashes. With all of the educational and enforcement activities going on to reach them, it's disappointing to not see more young drivers making a responsible and life-saving choice."

Activities reaching out to teens are at an all-time high. Beginning this month, the Never Made It campaign focuses on the real-life consequences of young drivers who fail to buckle up. The campaign features messages airing on radio, cable television and through Internet banners and games. Advertising culminates Oct. 19-25, a week designated as National Teen Driver Safety Week.

The Coalition also reaches out to teens with programs like Battle of the Belt, a high school seat belt challenge that kicked off in mid-September and runs through Nov. 21. More than 80 schools participated last year with surprise seat belt checks at each high school and student-planned educational campaigns on the importance of seat belt use.

"We want all of our young people to make it to homecoming, graduation and into old age," said Depue. "We're working together with hundreds of safety advocates across the state and we'll continue to do everything we can to increase the number of Missouri teens buckling up."

The coalition continues to encourage passage of a Primary Safety Belt Law, which would save approximately 90 lives each year and dramatically reduce injuries from traffic crashes. The coalition considers passage of this law to be the single most effective way to reduce Missouri traffic-related fatalities and injuries.

For more information, please visit http://www.savemoyouth.com/. Buckle Up to Arrive Alive.

Missouri Teen Drivers Seat Belt Use Overall (percentage)

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

53.4

56.4

57.9

61.1

62.3

 

Missouri Teen Drivers Seat Belt Use by Vehicle Type (percentage)

 

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Car

58.2

60.8

61.7

65.2

64.3

Van

64.6

64.8

65

69.9

74.6

SUV

55.1

58.3

62.9

62.5

65.3

Truck

34.3

39.3

40.9

44.9

49.5

 

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