Report: Missouri seat belt usage rises

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The Missouri Department of Transportation says that safety belt usage has risen to its highest rate ever.

The annual Missouri Seat Belt Usage Survey shows that 87.1% of Missourians use a safety belt. Nearly 30% higher than in 1998, when the first survey was taken.

“We’ve seen a 5.7 percent increase in usage in the past two years alone,” said Jon Nelson, executive committee chair of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “We’ve increased educational efforts through the Buckle Up Phone Down (BUPD) program statewide, and the survey results show those messages are being heard. Since inception, more than 5,600 individuals and 430 businesses have taken the BUPD pledge to always wear their safety belts, and put their phones down while driving.”

Missouri still remains below the national average of 89.7%. Data from 560 sites within 28 Missouri counties on more than 135,000 vehicle occupants was recorded.

The report found that vehicle passengers and females used safety belts more often, and that occupants of sport utility vehicles and minivans also had a higher rate of usage. Pickup truck drivers and passengers had the lowest usage rate. 

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