Seat belts save lives. It’s not just an empty slogan. The Missouri Department of Transportation has startling facts about the link between fatalities and the failure to wear seat belts: Seven out of 10 Missourians killed in traffic crashes in 2011 were unbuckled, and three out of four teens killed in 2011 traffic crashes were not wearing a seat belt. Only 67 percent of Missouri teens (13-19) wear seat belts.

As Missourians killed in traffic crashes in 2011 , we have seen the devastating effects caused by not wearing a seat belt. The proper use of seat belts reduces the risk of serious injuries and even death. In Missouri, 79 percent of the citizens wear seat belts, but the state’s seat belt usage rage is well below the national average of 85 percent.

The Missouri Highway Patrol, Department of Transportation and local law enforcement are cracking down on wearing seatbelts from May 21 – June 3 with their “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

While it’s frustrating to be handed a fine for not being buckled up, the risks of not wearing a seat belt are just too great to ignore the law. In 2011, 784 Missourians were killed in traffic crashes. If everyone were buckled up, the number of deaths likely would be lower.

As of May 6, 2012, there were 255 traffic fatalities in Missouri, an increase of 22 percent when compared to roughly the same time period in 2011 (208 fatalities).

The good news is that Missouri car accident deaths have dropped 37.6 percent since 2005. But Missouri traffic fatality statistics reveal much work is needed to drive the numbers down even further.

In Missouri, 30 percent of traffic deaths involve an impaired driver. The leading causes of car accidents include speeding, driving under the influence and inattention.

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