Missouri law enforcement cracks down on unbuckled teen drivers - KCTV5

Missouri law enforcement cracks down on unbuckled teen drivers

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Only 70% of teens buckle their seat belt when they drive. And most teenagers killed in car crashes are unbuckled. (AP) Only 70% of teens buckle their seat belt when they drive. And most teenagers killed in car crashes are unbuckled. (AP)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KCTV) -

It's a disheartening number, 30% of teenage drivers in Missouri do not wear seat belts.

But police hope a new program changes that. 

Law enforcement agencies across the state of Missouri are cracking down, trying to make sure teenagers buckle up, every time they drive.

Over the next few weeks, Missouri law enforcement will be looking for unbuckled drivers and focusing their attention around school zones.

Friends Lorna Haskins and Kayla McCormack both agree, police cracking down on seat belts laws is a good thing. 

"I don't even take it out of park unless everyone is wearing their seat belt,” Haskins said.

"I know a lot of my friends don't wear their seat belt and it just makes me nervous for them because I know how crazy...even if you’re paying attention and know what you are doing, not everyone else is,” McCormack said.

Only 70% of teens buckle their seat belt when they drive. And most teenagers killed in car crashes are unbuckled.

A statistic that was surprising to Kansas City resident Emily Brown.

“When I get in the car it’s just automatic, it’s not even that big of a deal,” Brown said. 

Authorities say the point isn’t to ticket teens, it’s to educate young drivers about why they should be wearing their seat belt and how it can save lives.

"The one time I didn't, we did get in a car accident and we got rear ended and I hit my head on the seat,” McCormack said.

McCormack says now she always buckles her seat belt. 

Teenagers are required, by law, to wear a seat belt and if they don’t it is a primary offense, that means you can be pulled over solely for not wearing a seat belt.

The effort is funded by a MoDOT grant that kicks off Wednesday and will continue through the month of March.

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