MT. VERNON, Mo. — About one and every five drivers do not wear seatbelts in Missouri and more than 60 percent of fatal accidents last year involved someone who wasn’t buckled up. So, the Lawrence County Sheriff hopes sending out one of his own to enforce it will help.
It takes only three seconds to put on your seatbelt and experts say it is a decision which could save your life.
“I’d rather cut the seatbelt off of someone to get them out of their car then not coming out alive.”
Lawrence County Sheriff Deputy Melissa Stanford spent Thursday boosting ‘Click it or Ticket’ enforcement in her rural county.
“A lot of the times when you see a violation and I think they know they’ve done something wrong, you see a lot of this number,” said Stanford.
Stanford believes many people forget to buckle up because most are just making routine trips.
“Even if you are just running down to the store, you should always put it on. You never know what could happen.”
Statistics show about 20 percent of Missourians do not make their seatbelt click. The county’s enforcement is funded with a MoDOT grant.
“As of today, we have lost 223 people to traffic crashes.”
A spokesperson for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety said statistics speak for themselves.
“Looking back at 2015, we know, of course that we had 871 people killed in traffic crashes. Of those 871 people killed, 63 percent of the drivers and passengers were not restrained,” said Jackson.
Right now, not wearing your seatbelt is not a primary violation but lawmakers could change that with House Bill 1424 which allows a person to be stopped if they are not wearing their seatbelt.
“Its a simple task. It takes only a few seconds and it definitely saves lives,” said Jackson.
“I would like to see something like that just so we could stop and just remind them,” Stanford told KOLR10 News.
Even though there are some exceptions to who has to buckle up, Stanford said why take the risk.
“I tell people no matter what just cause the law says you don’t have to wear it in that truck you should put it on.”
Thursday’s increase in enforcement is a part of an initiative for agencies across the state.