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Buckle up, phone down

A group of Missouri mayors came together on Feb. 14 to voice support for an initiative aimed at getting Missouri residents to buckle their seat belts and put down their phones while driving.

The effort, led by Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, kicked off this month to promote the Buckle Up/Phone Down [modot.org/BuckleUpPhoneDown] campaign.

Buckle Up/Phone Down is an outreach program the Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT] launched last year to combat distracted driving. Tergin was joined by 25 other mayors in support of the campaign.

According to MoDOT, of the 688 people killed on Missouri highways in 2016, about 62 percent were not wearing seat belts. The Missouri Highway Patrol reports that cellphones contributed to about 2,470 crashes in Missouri in 2016, and statistics from AAA show the act of texting while driving increases the risk of car crashes by about 50 percent. Missouri is one of 16 states with no primary seat belt law and one of three states without an all-driver texting ban.

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