Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for youths (ages 15-20) in Missouri, accounting for nearly 11.8 percent of traffic fatalities during the last three years. Many factors including inexperience, alcohol, speeding, cell phones, and other distractions all contribute to these crashes with many resulting in death. Research indicates that driving distractions are the primary cause of fatal collisions. In addition, one of the greatest risk factors faced by teens is the number of passengers in the vehicle. Studies have confirmed that with the presence of just one passenger, teens are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
The Missouri Department of Highway Safety has designated March 15-31, 2019 as statewide mobilization campaign dates for youth seat belt enforcement. Under the Missouri Graduated Driver License Law, teens from age 15-18 are required to wear their seat belt and it is a primary offense if they do not, meaning they can be pulled over solely for not wearing their seat belt. In 2017, 70% of teen vehicle occupant fatalities were unbuckled. Wearing your seatbelt increases your chance of surviving an accident by 42%.
The Lebanon Police Department continues to encourage drivers to make a simple, smart choice to buckle up and arrive alive.