Missouri Increase in Unbelted Crash Deaths

An article from Ozarks First cited this morning that Missourians use seatbelts far less than the national average. Missouri transportation officials have said that this failure to comply with seat belt laws causes hundreds of fatalities each year.

This week, leading up to high traffic Memorial Day weekend, happens to be the Click It or Ticket Week for the Missouri Highway Patrol and for several other local law enforcement agencies. Officials will paying better attention to drivers who are failing to buckle their seatbelts.

Unfortunately, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced last week that this situation is far worse than one might think. Individuals who are busy, traveling in and out of their cars several times a day, seem to be forgetting an essential step in the process–buckling up. According to Joe Rickman of the Missouri Department of Transportation, MoDot and the coalition for highway safety are constantly preaching about the importance of wearing a safety belt. Rickman, who studies crash data for all of Southwestern Missouri provided Ozark First with the shocking statistic, that 64 percent of all fatal accidents in Missouri are unbelted. Similarly, less than four-fifths of all Missouri drivers buckle up regularly. This statistic places Missouri at about 7-percent less than the national average.

The Missouri Traffic Department says that these statistics are even worse with the combination of texting while driving. Springfield, Missouri traffic engineer Jason Haynes says the biggest crash factor is distracted driving, and cell phones play a huge part into driver distraction. Coupling distractions, such as cell phone, with unbelted driving can yield disastrous results.  These wrongful deaths and injuries are completely preventable.

As most insurance companies will attest, 50% of all car crashes occur within five miles of an individual’s home. So, buckling up is absolutely essential, even if you are just driving a few minutes down the street. Similarly, Rickman also divulged that truck drivers and teenagers are the least likely to wear their seatbelts, and both groups also face a slightly higher than average risk of crash to start with. Unfortunately, Greene County, Missouri is the fourth worst county in the U.S. for unbelted teen deaths.  It is essential that parent’s set an example for their teenagers, by wearing their safety belts every time they drive. According to MoDot, some Missouri schools show that as few as 30% of their teenage drivers are belted when they drive to and from school.  That is, again, a very shocking statistic.

Fortunately, MoDot estimates that wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of death by around 45%. So, Missouri drivers, there really is no reason not to click on a safety belt with each trip. If you are a Missouri driver who has been injured in an accident that was the cause of someone else’s distracted, negligent driving, you may be entitled to compensation for all of your harms and losses.  To find out more information about your potential case, call an experienced, easy-to-reach St. Louis crash attorney today at 314.409.7060 or toll free at 855.40.CRASH. We look forward to serving you with a free, no obligation consultation.

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