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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A hope for saving lives

There's no simple or sugar-coated way to put it: people die on the roadways. Although Missouri has worked hard to reduce those numbers (and done so successfully), there is sill a simple way to save about 10 percent of the people who die on Missouri roadways -- incorporating a primary safety belt law.

This year, MoDOT is working with legislators to get a primary safety belt law passed in Missouri. Increasing safety belt use is the most effective and immediate way to save lives and reduce injuries on Missouri roads. Of more than 500 Missouri traffic laws, the current safety belt law is the only one that has a secondary enforcement provision - a driver must break another law first before they can be cited for a safety belt violation.

MoDOT estimates that we can save more than 90 lives and prevent more than 1,000 serious injuries each year by passing a primary safety belt law. To do this, we need your help. Find out how Missouri can save more lives each year here.


Alan said...

Savings Lives, Is seat belts really the answer?

We have heard the reasons, and the insurance lobby and the police statements” I have never removed a seatbelt from a dead person“, appear to be the driving marketing force for seatbelt usage. Allowing the police to stop my car or even write a ticket from a camera for a seat belt is almost scary.

But the real issue is “Natural Selection“.

Anyone over 50 years old has seen the change in driving attitudes and habits. These are learned driving habits from your parents and other individuals you have had contact with.

Drivers with bad habits impart these habits to there offspring and friends. These natural action in the human make-up perpetuates the action for history.

I do not disagree, not wearing a seat belts can cause death. This will stop the bad habit from being copied. This is the real problem.

MODOT CR STL said...

Alan --

Thanks for your questions about MoDOT's desire to establish a primary safety belt law in Missouri. It IS about saving lives, but it is not the only answer to the question of how we save lives on the highway. Right now, 76 percent of Missouri consistently wears their safety belt -- well below the national average of 83 percent. And you are correct about bad habits being passed on -- Missouri teens are only 62 percent likely to buckle up. We lost 120 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19 in crashes during 2007 -- teens who will not have the opportunity to get married, have children, or enjoy a full, rich life. Of those 120 teens, nearly three quarters were not wearing safety belts. We have been working on the educational side of the equation for many years. For instance, we have touted safety belt use through programs such as Buckle Up in Your Truck, Arrive Alive, the Battle of the Belt. Those programs are working, as well -- but there are some people who won't listen unless it is uncomfortable for them. The primary safety belt law should help achieve that. Right now, if you are stopped for one of 500 other traffic law violations (to include window tinting that is too dark, speeding, etc.) and you aren't wearing a safety belt, you can be fined. A primary safety belt law just makes it a traffic offense for which a driver can be stopped.

Adding some "teeth" to the education process makes it more effective, and means that, in the end, we can save up to 90 people a year on Missouri highways. That, to me, is a pretty impressive number. That means the highway patrol will have 90 less fatalities a year to investigate -- 90 less families a year will have to suffer the loss of a loved one. It's one element among many that made significant impact in reducing fatalities on state roads -- MoDOT have made the roads smoother and safer; this means Missouri had about 200 less fatalities on Missouri highways in 2008 than we had in 2003. A primary safety belt law will help the state continue on that trend.