JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Recent statistics from the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety show that men make up the majority of the state’s traffic fatalities, often due to a lack of seat belt use, particularly among pickup truck drivers.

Preliminary 2020 data indicates male pickup truck drivers account for 77% of the pickup truck fatalities so far this year. In addition, 83% of the male pickup truck drivers killed were unbuckled.

As a result, the coalition and the Missouri Department of Transportation are stepping up efforts to target messaging and educational resources to males and those driving pickup trucks. Through a new video, the department hopes to encourage buckling up by outlining the consequences of not wearing a seat belt. The department will promote the video, which can be found at https://youtu.be/obmulMOYK6g, via social media and other avenues.

“We’re working to tailor our safety messages to categories of drivers, such as males and pickup truck occupants, who are at higher risk of losing their lives in a traffic crash,” said Patrick McKenna, MoDOT director. “Despite all that is going on, we can’t lose sight of the fact that a public health crisis is playing out on our state’s highways in the form of traffic fatalities.”

Already, 2020 has seen 717 traffic fatalities, an increase of 76 more lives lost compared to the same time last year. Of the vehicle occupants killed in Missouri traffic crashes in 2020, 68% were unbuckled. Based on average survival rates, if everyone involved in these crashes had been buckled, more than 180 people who were killed would still be alive today, according to State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Nicole Hood.

“Those 180 fatalities are people someone knew and loved,” Hood said. “Think of the staggering ripple effect those deaths have on those left behind.”

As part of the messaging, MoDOT and the coalition continue to promote the state’s successful Buckle Up Phone Down safety initiative, especially among men and truck drivers. The BUPD campaign, which will celebrate its fourth annual Buckle Up Phone Down Day on Oct. 16, tackles two of the most effective actions drivers can take to stay safe when getting behind the wheel – fastening their seatbelts and putting down their cell phones.

More information can be found at www.modot.org/bupd.

 

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For more information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org. To receive the latest statewide news and text alerts, signup for e-updates.

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