According to a recent survey, more Missourians are making the smart choice to buckle up.

According to a recent survey, more Missourians are making the smart choice to buckle up.

With 65 percent of Missouri’s traffic crash fatalities involving an unbelted driver or passenger, this increase could result in many lives saved.

The 2017 Missouri Seat Belt Usage Survey final report, conducted by the Missouri Safety Center and University of Central Missouri, shows that Missouri’s overall seat belt usage is up to 84 percent. This is a 2.6 percent increase from 81.4 percent in 2016. The latest national average for seat belt usage is 90.1 percent.

Observers recorded data from 560 sites within the 28 Missouri counties on over 115,000 vehicle occupants. The report showed that vehicle passengers and females were more commonly belted, and that occupants of sport utility/crossover and van/minivans also had a higher rate of seat belt usage, at 86.5 percent. Pickup truck drivers and passengers had the lowest usage rate at 69.3 percent.

“With over 90 percent of traffic crashes attributed to human error, we know that most are preventable. However, a seat belt is your best defense in a vehicle crash,” said Bill Whitfield, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “Pay attention, buckle up and never drive distracted or impaired.”

Missouri is one of only 15 states that does not have a primary seat belt law. To date, 53 Missouri cities and two counties have adopted their own primary seat belt ordinances to protect their citizens.

For additional information regarding roadway safety, or other transportation-related topics, contact the MoDOT Customer Service Center toll free, at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636), or visit www.saveMOlives.com .