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Missoula City-County Health Department: Health Promotion
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Buckle-Up Montana

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It's all about saving lives...

In Montana, 7 out of 10 people killed in crashes each year are unbuckled. Those who died might be alive today if only they had been wearing their seat belts. You can help solve this statewide health issue. Remember, buckle up for every trip, every time—even on short trips at low speeds. A simple click is all it takes to save a life.




  • Seat belts dramatically reduce risk of death and serious injury. Among drivers and front-seat passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%.
  • Seat belts prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected during a crash. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. More than 3 out of 4 people who are ejected during a crash die from their injuries.  Many of those who don't die will have permanent, debilitating injuries.

     Center for Disease Control and Prevention

  • In 2013, 105 of the 186 people killed in Montana automobile crashes were not wearing a safety belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that a primary safety belt law will increase safety belt usage by 10 percent. For Montana, this equates annually to:

    •  at least 15 lives saved
    • 118 serious injuries prevented
    • $39 million savings in costs associated with crashes.
    If all Montana drivers and passengers had worn seat belts that year, 15 more moms and dads, sisters and brothers and best friends would be alive today.


The Missoula City-County Health Department is the Lead Agency for the Missoula County Buckle Up Montana Coalition - one of twelve Coalitions in the State. Buckle Up Montana is a safety movement from the Montana Department of Transportation.


2014 Quarterly Reports - includes Missoula Seat Belt Survey; Saved by the Belt award nominations.


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Upcoming meetings

The Missoula County Buckle Up Montana Coalition meets the first Tuesday of the month, from 1 pm - 2:30 pm, at Missoula Rural Fire District Station No. 1, 2521 South Avenue West. Meetings are open to the public.

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Upcoming events


bucle up sign

Workplaces and seatbelts

You can remind your customers to buckle up. The Missoula County Buckle Up Montana Coalition is offering these FREE "We Care - Buckle Up" parking lot signs to area businesses.  They are printed on aluminum and suitable for posting outdoors.

To order a sign, contact:
Lonie Hutchison, Coalition Coordinator
Missoula City-County Health Department

Workplace seat belt policies


child in car seat

Child passenger safety

Children aged 4 to 8 who are properly restrained in Belt Positioning Booster seats were 45% less likely to sustain injuries than similarly aged children who were using the vehicle seat belt.
Journal of Pediatrics

Studies have shown that car seats significantly lower the risk of serious injury in children.  Incapacitating injuries among children under 8 years old was almost three times higher for unrestrained children.  In side impact collisions, where the child was seated on the side of the vehicle that was struck, unrestrained children were eight times more likely to suffer an incapacitating injury than restrained children.   National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

If you are uncertain about whether or not your child's seat is installed correctly you can make an appointment with a fitting station:

Child Car Safety Seat Fitting Stations
Free assistance
Appointment required

Missoula Rural Fire District
2nd Saturday of every month
10 am -5 pm
Call for appointment: 549-6172

Frenchtown Fire District
Call for appointment: Lisa Gotula, 626-5791

Top 5 problems - when installing child safety seats.


teen with seat belt

Teen seat belt use

Plan 2 Live - on Facebook

Teens and Safer Driving


adult buckling seat belt

Adult seat belt use

poster seat belt use

Quick facts

How does Montana compare to other states for seat belt usage?  What affect does a primary seat belt law have on usage rates?  2010 usage rates by state from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A 2010-2012 analysis of Montana unbuckled crash occupants found that:

Consequently, yearly medical care costs paid by state or federal sources for unbuckled crash occupants were over $5 million for injuries that could have been prevented with use of seatbelts (averages from combined Medicaid, Medicare, & Indian Health Services costs).  Montana Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Report

Data from the Missoula Area Community Transportation Safety Plan collected from 2007-2011:

In severe-injury crashes:

Of the severe-injury crashes that occurred at an intersection:
Of severe injury crashes in which alcohol was involved:
Crashes by time of day:
Other statistics:

Seat belt use statistics - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Seat belt use facts - CDC

A 2011 survey at 11 major intersections in Missoula indicated that 79% of drivers were wearing a seat belt.  That means that 21% of drivers were gambling that they wouldn't be in a serious crash.

graph traffic fatalities by seat belt use 2013


Lonie Hutchison, Coalition Coordinator
Missoula City-County Health Department


Related links

Child Safety Seats - How to use them, and installation check-up events.

Child Passenger Safety Training - become a certified child passenger safety technician. Classes available in several Montana cities, April - July 2012.  Click on "Find a Course".

Missoula DUI Task Force

Plan2Live - Montana's Seat Belt Program

Vision Zero - a multipronged initiative with the ultimate goal of eliminating deaths and injuries on Montana highways.

Effectiveness of Seatbelt Use - National safety council

Child Safety Seat Report 2012 - from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Bicycle safety tips - Share the Road, from MT Dept. of Transportation

Montana crash statistics - MT Dept. of Transportation

Missoula Measures - selected data, links and other information on scores of topics related to health and quality of life in Missoula, Montana.


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