• Steve Schmidt - Drive Safe Missoula

Buckle Up - Enough Reasons


Play the 30-second ad then we'll break it down.

Why...because there is a lot to think about in these 30 seconds...and it's essential.

Let's Break it down

First line: A vehicle crash can be deadly, any time of year.

We are in the middle of what is traditionally known as the "100 Deadly Days of Summer" (The period between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend). We have traditionally seen more traffic fatalities on our roadways than at any other time of year. How can this be? The roads are clear; the sun is up longer, so less night driving. The conditions are perfect, or are they?

Second Line: In any type of condition.

Road Conditions: Dry! Let's Go! And...we let our guard down. Statistically speaking, we may be a better driver when the road conditions are less than perfect. Why? We tend to concentrate and focus more on our driving. We are tuned in to the conditions outside. When it's dry conditions and smooth sailing, we don't need to focus as much on driving...or at least it seems like we don't. This is where distractions come in...we shuffle through our music, play a video on our phone, and enter a destination in our navigation system. All the things we would never think about doing if the roads were covered in slush and ice, right? We also tend to drive faster when conditions are dry and clear. It boils down to physics, and there is a significant difference between the forces our bodies experience during an 80 mile per hour crash and a 50 mile per hour crash. Additionally, when the roads are clear and dry, we are more willing to drive. So, we do.

Road Trip! These are just some of the reasons why our summer driving season is more deadly.

Third Line: In any vehicle.

Here in Montana, "Off The Roadway" crashes are the most common deadliest type of crash. Leaving the roadway at highway speeds, regardless of the vehicle you are in, isn't healthy. Trees, signs, fences, rocks, and the earth itself are all there to participate in the crash's all too often deadly physics. Just ask Sir Isaac Newton.

Forth Line: At any speed.

Shall I bring in Sir Isaac Newton again? Would you be willing to ride a bike head-on into a tree at 20 MPH? If you are like me, around 200 pounds at 20 mph, hitting the tree would feel like getting hit with a mass of 20,372 pounds. That doesn't sound healthy.

It could kill you. Would you be willing to sit in your vehicle as we shoot a 16-pound bowling ball, 60 MPH, at you? (Like getting hit with a mass of 14,688 pounds)

Again, it could kill you. What about driving your car 20 miles per hour into the tree...would you want to put your seat belt on first? See Omni Car Crash Force Calculator

Forth Line: To anyone in the vehicle

You are buckled in the front seat, but your friend in the back isn't. You hit the tree at only 20 miles per hour. Your friend's 11-pound skull flies forward at about 20 miles per hour (if you need to refer to Newton again, it's okay) and collides with your head. It would feel like you are getting hit with a mass of 1120 pounds. (not counting the fact that your head may be moving back toward your friend's head at the time of impact, potentially increasing the impact force...oh, and a lot of other factors too.) So, would you let a small cow weighing 1,120 pounds stand on your head? No? It could kill you.

Fifth Line: One of the most common reasons for fatalities on Montana's Roadways? Not wearing a seat belt. Those are more than enough good reasons to buckle up.

As of June 28, 2021, there have been102 lives lost on Montana roadways. Fifty-three are due to improper restraints or no seat belt usage. That's over half. Just imagine if 53 people chose to wear their seat belts...we would be at a record low number of fatalities.

Sixth Line: What's your reason for always wearing a seatbelt?

So, what is your reason for always wearing a seatbelt?

Seventh Line: A Vision Zero Message from the Montana Department of Transportation

The State of Montana has a Vision that we can get to Zero Serious Injuries and Zero Deaths on our roadways. Is this possible? Yes. As of June 28, if 53 people chose to wear their seatbelts, our numbers could potentially be down to 49 Deaths. If we put DUIs into the mix, of the 102 fatalities, 59 are related to impaired driving. (Some fatalities have multiple contributing factors. DUI and No Seatbelt). So imagine if those 59 people found a sober ride and wore their seat belts...we could be at ZERO DEATHS. But to get there, we need you to get there.

Thank you, and as always, Drive Safe, Missoula.

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