On December 3rd, 2015, the Board of Aldermen for the city of Osage Beach is expected to pass an enforcement ordinance that makes drivers not wearing seat belts a primary offense. That means that a driver not wearing a seat belt can be pulled over by police solely because of that, with there being no other apparent violations. The violation is currently considered secondary by both city and state law; officers must first witness a primary violation like speeding to justify pulling a driver over before they are able to enforce the seat belt law or issue any related citations. The ordinance would go into effect immediately following the December 3rd meeting, making Osage Beach one of approximately forty Missouri communities to render the law primary.
Missouri is one of only 15 states that still have not adopted primary seat belt laws. A study conducted by the Missouri Department of Transportation in 2014 found that just 79% of Missouri drivers consistently wear seat belts, compared to 87% of drivers nationwide.
Drivers not wearing seat belt restraints are reportedly forty-two times more likely to be killed if they are involved in accidents than are those who wear them. Proponents of making failure to wear a seat belt a primary violation believe that it would increase compliance with the law and decrease the rate of motor vehicle accident-related injury. According to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, states that have already passed primary seat belt laws have experienced an average seat belt compliance increase of 11%.