Two persons were injured in a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Callaway County on the evening of Friday, December 12th. Just before 4:30 p.m. that day, an 18-year-old male driving a 2003 Ford Focus on County Road 371 was reportedly near the intersection of 371 and Route MM when he lost control of the vehicle and went off of the left side of the roadway. The car struck both a fence and a utility pole before coming to a complete stop, and the driver and one passenger were injured. According to reports from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the passenger, a 22-year-old male, sustained moderate injuries; the driver’s injuries were considered minor when he was assessed at the scene. Both young men were transported to the University Hospital in Columbia via Callaway County Emergency Medical Services. Neither of the injured parties was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.
Not only is it the law to wear seat belts in Missouri, it is also the single most effective way to reduce the risk of injury if an accident occurs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the chance of death or serious injury is reduced by about half during motor vehicle accidents when proper safety belt use is employed.
Given the prevalence of safety belt awareness, one might wonder why some drivers and passengers still choose not to buckle up. While it is unlikely to be able to assess individual motivation for making this choice with any certainty, the data below regarding seat belt law compliance could possibly assist in identifying the demographics most in need of further education.
- Young adults (ages 18-34) are less likely to wear seat belts than persons thirty-five and over.
- Men are approximately 10% less likely to buckle up than women.
- Drivers living in rural areas are about 10% less likely to use seat belts than drivers living in more urban areas.