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Family Road Safety

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Arrive Alive program:

  • There were 757 fatalities in 2013 in Missouri traffic crashes.
  • Six out of 10 vehicle occupants killed in 2013 Missouri traffic crashes were not wearing seatbelts.
  • Nearly 30 percent of Missouri traffic fatalities in 2013 involved a substance-impaired driver.
  • Leading causes of 2013 fatal crashes include speeding, substance impairment and improper lane change.
  • Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 20.

Safety Tips

  • Do not engage in any type of distracted driving.
  • If you feel drowsy, pull over.
  • Always wear your seatbelt. Insist your passengers buckle up as well.
  • Never pull over onto the shoulder of a road. Instead, pull off at a rest stop or gas station.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Take it for routine checks.
  • Make sure a car seat or booster seat is installed correctly.
  • Make sure that safety locks are on for windows and doors within a child’s reach.
  • Correctly buckle in children.
  • Use caution in work zones. Slow down and be aware.
  • Know your traffic signs and signals and watch for them while driving.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
  • Know the speed limit and stick to it.
  • Make sure there is appropriate distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. The standard rule is 10 feet per 10 miles per hour of speed.
  • Know your driving restrictions.
  • Pay attention to weather conditions. Do not drive in bad weather if not necessary.
  • Use your side mirrors, rear view mirror and turning signal when changing lanes.

Seatbelts save lives

Take three seconds to buckle up.

  • In 2014, 63 percent of those killed on the road were not wearing a seat belt in vehicles requiring restraints.
  • In Missouri, one person is killed in a traffic crash every 11.1 hours.
  • A Missouri driver’s chance of being killed in a traffic crash if not wearing a seat belt is 42 times greater than that of a driver who is buckled up.
  • Using the lap or shoulder belts cuts your chances of being killed or seriously injured in a crash by 45 to 50 percent.
  • For drivers involved in traffic crashes not killed or injured, 97.5 percent were wearing their seatbelt at the time of the crash.
  • It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure everyone is safe.
  • Make sure each passenger has a working seatbelt.
  • Adjust the seatbelt so that it fits snuggly over your hip bone. It should fall low on your hips, not high on your stomach.
  • Do not allow slack in the seatbelt.
  • The shoulder belt should fall across your shoulder diagonally. It should never be worn under the arm.
  • If you are pregnant, wear your seatbelt under your abdomen.
  • Children 13 years and younger should always be belted in the rear seats of the vehicle. They are not allowed to sit in the front seats.

Be prepared

  • Keep your emergency contact information on your cell phone in case of an emergency. Label it ICE.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car that includes water, blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, flares and tools to change a tire and a first aid kit.
  • Keep your cell phone fully charged.
  • If you are in a vehicle accident, pull as far off of the road as possible if you cannot make it to a safer area like a gas station or rest stop.
  • If you are in an accident, put on your flashers or tie something to your car so other drivers know you are there.

Graduate Driver Licensing Program for New Drivers

New drivers have a higher crash rate then experienced drivers. The Graduate Driver Licensing (GDL) program allows new drivers to safely gain driving experience before driving unrestricted. There are three stages:

  1. Learner Stage
    In this stage, the driver has a driving permit or learner’s permit. The driver must pass a written test to get a driving permit.
    • The driver must be at least 15 years old.
    • The driver must be supervised while driving for at least six months. He or she must complete at least 40 daytime driving hours and at least 10 nighttime driving hours.
    • The driver must pass a driving test to move into the next stage.
  2. Intermediate Stage
    In this stage, the driver has a driving license with restrictions. The driver must be at least 16 years old and fulfilled all the requirements in the learner stage and passed a driving test. Restrictions include:
    • Cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
    • For the first six months of having the license, the driver cannot have more than one passenger under age 19 at one time.
    • After the first six months of having the license, the driver cannot have more than three people in the vehicle under the age 19.
  3. Full Privilege Stage
    Upon turning 18, the driver’s license becomes a standard driving license. Standard laws are enforced.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and
  3. Governors Highway Safety Association
  4. Missouri State Highway Patrol, and Click4Life Seatbelt Campaign


Injury Prevention

For more information, please call MU Health Care’s injury prevention outreach program at 573-884-6381.

Nurses After Hours Contact

Nurses are available for after-hours health questions by calling Health Connect at 573-884-2401.