People are buckling up at the best rate since a survey that began in 1998 has been conducted.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) reported seat belt usage in Missouri has risen to an all-time high, according to the Missouri Seat Belt Usage Survey. The results were released during a new conference at Buckle Up Phone Down Day on the campus of the University of Missouri.

The survey revealed that 87.7 percent of Missourians used a seat belt in 2018, compared to 60 percent usage when the survey began in 1998.

MoDOT said much of the success of higher seat belt use likely can be attributed to the statewide Buckle Up Phone Down (BUPD) campaign that was launched in 2017. MoDOT said the two most important things people can do to save their lives and those of others are to buckle up and put the phone down and turn if off.

MoDOT said more than 10,000 individuals and nearly 500 businesses have accepted the BUPD challenge.

Most motorists will tell you they still see drivers using a phone while driving and they can’t tell whether they have buckled up. However, if the state survey is accurate, much progress has been made, even though it has taken years for many motorists to accept the BUPD challenge. The fact is there still are too many people who are in a hurry and forget to take the BUPD challenge, especially when driving only a short distance.