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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Winter 2010 Download Newsletter pdf
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Winter 2010 | Vol. 12 | No. 3

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Missouri Teens Do the Seatbelt Dance

Missouri is encouraging its teens to “Get Your Buckle On” in a new interactive campaign that began in spring of 2009 and is aimed at increasing youth seat belt usage. Sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, the campaign’s goal is to decrease teen fatalities and injuries on Missouri roads.

An original song and video urge teens to “get your buckle on” and submit their own seat belt dance video at Visitors can upload videos and win prizes like an iPod nano or a Flip Mino camera.

“The contest motivates teens in a fun and innovative way to reach their peers with the buckle up message,” said Leanna Depue, MoDOT’s director of Highway Safety, and executive committee chair of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.

Get Your Buckle On Logo and Poster

The winner of the first-round of competition was a humorous exchange between two teenage boys about buckling up. Suddenly a life-sized gnome crashes into their window saying “get your buckle on you little jerks.”

“It’s unexpected and funny,” Depue says. “And that’s what we’re looking for—videos that could be the latest YouTube sensation and get thousands of views and make a lasting impression on a teenager.”

Nineteen-year-old Cole Hieronymus, winner of the first-round of competition said, “We wanted to jolt our peers’ minds to wake up out of [their] zombie routine every day and actually put their seat belt on.” His video has already received more than 1,600 hits on YouTube and thousands more at

Forgetting to buckle up is one of the primary reasons teens cite for failing to wear their seat belts. A 2009 teen seat belt survey revealed only 61 percent of Missouri teens wear their seat belts regularly. One hundred thirty-seven young people, age 16-20, were killed in 2008 in Missouri traffic crashes, and 80 percent of them were unbuckled.

“We’ve tried to scare them into buckling up by showing them the gruesome facts and sharing statistics, but now we’re trying some music and fun to get their attention,” Depue says. “We have to get more teens to buckle up, as it’s an ever-growing problem.”

More than 250 seat belt videos were posted online in the first round of the video competition, which ended August 31. The second round of a teen seat belt dance video competition ended February 1 and again featured the original song Get Your Buckle On.

More information about this program is available online,