Mayor William Reckenberg signs the proclamation declaring Friday, October 29, 2019 as “BUCKLE UP PHONE DOWN DAY” as NEMO Regional Planning Commission Transportation Planner Lucinda Clubb and NEMO Regional Planning Commission Director Derek Weber look on.

The Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety are challenging you and those you know at home work, school, and community to buckle up and put your phone down and the City of Memphis is joining the effort.

On October 18th, Memphis Mayor William Reckenberg signed a proclamation declaring October 29th Buckle Up Phone Down Day.

The challenge is simple, when you get into any vehicle, buckle up your safety belt. If you are a driver, put the cell phone down. Turn it off if you have to. No texting and no talking unless it is via a hands free device.

According to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, nearly 7 out of 10 people killed in 2017 Missouri traffic crashes were unbuckled and over the last three years crushes involving cell phones have increased by more than 30 percent.

“Teen seat belt use in Missouri is only 74 percent, much lower than state (87 percent) and national (91 percent) seat belt use,” said Marisa L. Ellison, Communications Manager, Missouri Department of Transportation Northeast District. “Under the Graduated Driver License Law, teens from age 15-18 are required to wear their safety belt and it’s a primary offense if they don’t, yet many teens (and parents) are not aware of this law.”

As part of the efforts leading up to the event, all week long, employees and safety partners will be making special efforts to reach out to businesses and individuals alike. By buckling up arid putting your phone down even for one day you will be doing your part to make Missouri’s roads safer. Let’s save lives and turn this day into a week, a month and eventually every trip every time.

The simple task of buckling everyone in the vehicle and choosing not to use your phone while driving can help save your life the lives of your passengers, and occupants of other vehicles.

It’s time to join the movement and stand up and be counted Take the challenge at http://www modot.org/BuckleUpPhoneDown/. More than 10,000 people have already accepted the challenge and MDOT is targeting doubling that amount.