Results of a recent statewide survey reveal that Missouri drivers and passengers are buckling up more in 2016, but still have much room to improve.
Based on 123,678 observations of Missouri drivers and passengers in
this year's statewide survey, the safety belt use rate is 81.4 percent,
up 1.5 percent from 2015. This is still far behind the national average,
which was 88.5 percent in 2015.
Safety belt usage ranged from a low of 63 percent in Jackson County to a
high of 95 percent in Montgomery County. The survey also indicated that
females tend to buckle up more than males with 85 and 78.6 percent
respectively. Pickup truck drivers are only 69.7 percent likely to
buckle up, while drivers of sport utility vehicles buckle up at 86.7
"It's vital that the driver and all passengers are buckled up every
trip, every one, every time, day and night," said Bill Whitfield, chair
of the executive committee for the coalition. "Ninety-four percent of
the time driver error is responsible for a crash, and your safety belt
is your best defense if a crash occurs."
Modern vehicles are safer than they have ever been. Integrated safety
systems such as airbags and crumple zones have drastically increased
chances of crash survival. However, all of these safety improvements are
designed with the assumption that the occupants of a vehicle are
properly restrained with a safety belt. Not wearing a safety belt
severely undermines a vehicle's ability to keep its passengers safe in a
As of Sept. 29, 669 people have died in Missouri traffic crashes this
year, an 8% increase over this time last year. Of those deaths, 439 were
vehicle occupants who had a seat belt available, but 60 percent chose
not to wear a safety belt and were killed. Many of these people might be
alive today if they had simply buckled up.
For more information on highway safety, visit saveMOlives.com. You can also follow Save MO Lives on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.