Law enforcement is cracking down on seat belt violations

Did you buckle-up today?

Thursday is occupant protection enforcement day. Law enforcement across the state were out in force looking for seat belt violations.

Police said that the enforcement will continue through the holiday travel season.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety said seven out of ten people who die in traffic crashes weren't buckled-up.

The Missouri Highway Patrol agrees, and said people are far more likely to walk away from a crash if you wear a seat belt.

"If you are wearing your seat belt your chances of being alive are 1 out of way over 1,300. If you roll the dice an that when you're driving down the highway obviously your chances of survival, from being killed or seriously injured, is if you have your seat belt on," Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Tim Hull said.

Hull said your odds of survival drop to just 1 out of 30 when you choose not to strap in.

"Car manufactures go through a lot trouble to construct cars to survive crashes. They put crumple zones in, collapsible steering wheels, seat belts, airbags, the side airbags and knee airbags; they go to a lot of trouble, Hull said. But in order for all those systems to work a person has to stay inside that passenger compartment."

The Columbia Police Department is just one of the departments taking part in the stepped up enforcement.

"Your seat belt goes a long long way. It takes just a couple seconds to put it on and there are really no good excuses not to wear it, Columbia Police Dept. Jessie Hayden said. A seat belt will save your life."

Columbia police said next week they will be watching, especially along I-70, as people travel for Thanksgiving.

Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety said Missouri needs improvement.

Missouri's seat belt rate is 76 percent, that's compared to the 85 nation wide.