Updated: Sep 30, 2021
I may have, but I likely wasn't looking at you; I was looking at or just above your shoulder to see if you were wearing your seatbelt. I was out and about in Missoula the other day conducting our annual Seat Belt Survey. What does that mean? Well, I stood at 11 different locations throughout Missoula, and I was checking to see if you were wearing your seat belt as you drove by.
Here is a list of the locations we've been monitoring each year for at least the last 8 years.
Reserve & Mullan
Reserve & South
Arthur & 5th
Mount & Stephens
Russell & 39th
Paxon & Brooks
Russell & 10th
Bancroft & South
Higgins & Brooks
Pattee & Broadway
Spruce & Scott (Pictured above)
This year I counted a total of 4883 vehicles, and 4505 were buckled up. This means that 92.3% of Missoula drivers are buckled up.
Back in 1987, the seatbelt usage rate was only about 34%. Back then, 34% was enough to generate a hand-drawn smiley face next to the number.
There was a slight 1% decrease in seatbelt use with occupants of Pickup. The drop was from 88% last year to 87% this year. Pickup occupants have historically had a lower seatbelt usage percentage than other vehicles. If we don't count Pickup, the overall seatbelt usage percentage would be above 94%.
Some of my other observations
I find it extremely interesting that so many people, in this day and age, still not wearing their seat belts. Russel and 10th had the lowest percentage of overall seatbelt usage at 89.4%. The highest? Mullan and Reserve with an overall seatbelt usage rate of 95.3%
I also noticed an excessive number of people on their phones. I am not talking about using their phones while stopped. I'm talking about looking down at their phone as they drive through an intersection. I'm sure you are not surprised by this.
Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of drivers were paying attention to their driving. Although I witnessed several close calls, including one person flying through (35+ MPH) a 4 way stop in a school zone, thankfully, I didn't see any crashes.
I would really like to thank all of you who safely drove by me. Thanks for paying attention. Thanks for wearing your seatbelts, and as always, Drive Safe, Missoula.