Last year, 14 percent of the 317 accidents that occurred in Mexico involved youth drivers under the age of 21 behind the wheel, and according to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, 34 percent of Missouri teens don't buckle up.
To lower those percentages, state and local law enforcement will be out in full force March 15-31 to crack down on unbelted drivers and save lives.
State data indicates that "seat belts just don't click with teens."
Fact: One in four Missouri traffic crashes involves a young driver. Between 2010 and 2012, 243 teens (15-19) were killed in traffic crashes. Of those killed, 78 percent were unbuckled, according to MCRS.
Fact: In 2012, 64 youth under the age of 21 were involved in accidents in Mexico. This year, 49 accidents have happened and 11 of those were youth drivers. These figures are monitored continuously, according to Sgt. Penny Smith, with the Mexico Public Safety Department.
"Many drivers take the attitude that 'it will never happen to me,' especially teens. But fatal crashes happen every day to all types of people," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety."
Depue said Missouri will also continue to educate teens on the importance of buckling up through statewide seat belt programs, such as Battle of the Belts and Team Spirit. Smith said that MPSD also does campaigns and is planning another one this month to encourage seat belt usage.
"We take this very seriously and we will ticket teens who aren't buckled up," Smith said.
For more information visit saveMOlives.com or Facebook and Twitter at Save MO Lives. The message is simple "Buckle up and Arrive Alive."