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Seatbelt Usage Low in Southwest Missouri

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety finds seatbelt usage low in southwest Missouri and plans to take action with a new campaign. KSMU's Christy Hendricks has the story.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety plans to change the way traffic deaths are perceived with a new campaign.

The Coalition, a division of MODOT, says more than 60-percent of those who died in Southwest Missouri traffic accidents from 2001 to 2004 didn't wear a seatbelt.

The Coalition defines Southwest Missouri as 11 counties from Barry, Lawrence, Dade, Cedar, St. Clair and westward.

Wendy Brunner-Lewis is a spokesperson for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.

She says 24 of the 26 people who died in traffic crashes in Vernon County over a four year period were not wearing a seatbelt.

Brunner-Lewis says the Coalition is attacking the seatbelt problem with education, law enforcement and highway safety efforts.

Radio and TV announcements with the "Arrive Alive" theme have also been airing in the problem counties.

Wendy Brunner-Lewis says the number of people not using their seatbelts has increased.

She attributes part of the problem to schools eliminating driver's ed courses.

Brunner-Lewis says the Missouri coalition for Roadway Safety is working closely with state and local law enforcement agencies in promoting the safety campaign.

Wendy Brunner-Lewis says Southwest Missouri averages 112 traffic deaths every year.

She says the public should realize many traffic deaths are avoidable by wearing a seatbelt.

For more information on the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety visit