Missouri seat belts are not being used enough - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Missouri seat belts are not being used enough

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KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - Missourians are still not wearing their seat belts.

According to the Associated Press, the Department of Transportation says seat belt use in the state has remained static at 79 percent compared to the national average of 85 percent.

State officials say more than half of the 600 roadway deaths in 2013 were not wearing a seat belt.

State law requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts, but some still don't buckle up.

"There are a number of people who continue to not wear their seat belts, especially in this area. A lot of the older people and some of the younger people," Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder said.

Sheriff Holder said it is just hard for many to kick a bad habit. 

"If people get in the car and miss it once or twice, they don't think about it. They just don't. Some of them may feel restricted once they have that on," Holder said. "You need to get used to wearing your seat belt when you get in the car."

Neglecting to do so is a secondary offense, resulting in a minimum of a $10 fine. 

Sheriff Holder said first time offenders usually get a warning from his department. 

"Give them an opportunity to correct their habit. We have to call it to their attention. If we don't, they just continue on in the same old habit," Holder said. 

But after that, Holder said be prepared to pay up. 
     
"A lot of times, in our case, people begin to think about it when they see a police officer. Then they grab for their seat belt. They realize it then," Holder said.

But what does it take to get drivers to put the seat belts on? Region 8 asked drivers if a bigger fine would work. 

"When you start getting in people's pocket book, it has the tendency to make them think a little bit more," Holder said. 

"Freedom of choice. I mean they're trying to pass a law where you can ride a motor cycle without a helmet. For god sakes, you can't ride in a car without a seat belt?," Kennett resident said.

"That's reckless. I think you should always wear your seat belt. It saves lives," Kennett resident said.

Missouri Law officers will participate in a statewide effort Monday, Nov. 25 called, "Click It or Ticket," to enforce seat belt usage and child restraints.

The sheriff's department will not participate, but the Kennett Police Department will set up roadblocks around the city to check up if people are buckling up.

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