“It Only Takes One”: MO Car Accident Safety

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | October 20, 2016
“It Only Takes One”: MO Car Accident Safety

It Only Takes One Click to Save a Life

Hey, St. Louis, safety advocates want you to spread the word: “It’s important that teen drivers realize it only takes ONE text, ONE drink, ONE call, ONE reach, ONE distraction to cause ONE fatal moment, but that ONE clicked seat belt could be the difference between life or death in a car crash.”

That is the essence of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety’s It Just Takes One safe driving campaign. It’s a statewide effort delivering a simple message of incredible importance to teens and young adults in St. Louis: “Drive Responsibly. There’s only ONE you.”

The coalition, made up of federal, state, and local officials and championed by the Missouri Department of Transportation, is driven by a disheartening fact: Auto accidents are the No. 1 killer of 15- to 20-year-olds in Missouri.

Making a Difference One Missouri School at a Time

The heart of the It Only Takes One campaign is competition among Missouri high schools. The kids provide the muscle in a push to educate students, parents, and communities about the dangers teens face on the road and how to minimize them.

Activities for participating schools run from Oct. 1 through the end of the school year, beginning with registering schools and ending with an awards ceremony at winning schools. The sponsors are the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, ACT Missouri, the Midwest Trauma Society, and the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians.

Key elements of the campaign are:

Education: The campaign aims to get the word out about the Adult/Teen Driving Contract, Missouri’s graduated driver’s license law, and underage drinking and driving.

  • It Only Takes One’s Adult/Teen Driving Contract is an agreement signed by a teen and parent that outlines what each promises to do to maximize safety.
  • The graduated driver’s license law mandates, among other things, that 15- to 18-year-olds must wear a seat belt, along with all of their passengers. A teen can be stopped and ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. Also, texting and driving is illegal if you are 21 or younger and is punishable by up to two points on a license.
  • It Only Takes One provides an Alcohol and Driving fact sheet to keep teens and parents informed.

Seat Belt Observational Surveys: Twice during the campaign, students form teams that set up and run surveys at their schools to gauge seat belt use by drivers and passengers. In-depth instructions are provided, including steps to ensure safety of survey participants.

Community Outreach: Students are being tasked with educating peers and the community about seat belt use and other safety measures. Efforts include creation of 30-second videos on using safety belts. The two schools in each MoDOT district with the best outreach efforts receive grants for use in advancing traffic safety.

St. Louis Car Accident Statistics Paint Sad Picture

Officials hope the campaign makes a real difference in reducing St. Louis car accident statistics.  

“In 2012, 16.9% of all fatal crashes involved a young driver of a motor vehicle; this is particularly significant since young drivers comprised only 7.9% of the licensed driver population in Missouri,” MoDOT reports. Here is another depressing number from MoDOT: 78 percent of youths killed in Missouri crashes weren’t wearing seat belts.

All those numbers represent a lot of youngsters from St. Louis who could have benefited from the It Just Takes One campaign and events such as MoDOT’s 2016 Show Me Safety Fair. The fair was held on Sept. 24 at City of Life Christian Church in University City. The focus was on bicycle helmets, car seats for kids, and a full-court press on buckling up.

“Seven out of ten young drivers and passengers (15-19) killed in 2015 Missouri vehicle traffic crashes weren’t buckled up,” says Bill Whitfield, executive committee chairman for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “Through education, competition and fun, the ‘It Only Takes One’ campaign can make a difference with young Missourians and save lives.”

Hope for Improved Safety in Missouri Communities. 

Fatality statistics for crashes in Missouri involving young drivers are grim facts, but the year-to-year numbers have declined significantly since 2005. Missouri State Highway Patrol figures from 2005 show that crashes involving drivers 21 or younger killed 322 people that year. Statistics for the same age group in 2014 show that crashes killed 149 people.

The first year for the It Only Takes One program was 2014. The goal is for it to help push the numbers further in the right direction.

Another grim fact is that no matter how hard youngsters try to avoid automobile accidents, other drivers who aren’t as careful can ruin everything. If that happens and your teen is hurt due to someone else’s negligence, the dedicated car accident lawyers at The Bruning Law Firm are here to help.

St. Louis Law Firm Dedicated to Safer Communities

The Bruning Law Firm is a family operation devoted to the St. Louis communities it serves. Anthony Bruning and sons A.J. and Ryan are St. Louis-born and raised, attended the University of Missouri, and all graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law.

Our attorneys are fierce litigators whose empathy for clients is rooted in a sense of duty to the community and experience with the suffering that auto accident victims endure.

Contact us today for a free consultation with experienced car accident lawyers who have earned the recognition in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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