The Missouri Times: Senator Jill Schupp Seeks to Improve Missouri Public Health and Safety

JEFFERSON CITY —Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, today pre-filed three pieces of legislation that would improve Missouri’s public health and safety standards. The new bills deal with seat belt enforcement, texting while driving and influenza vaccinations for healthcare facility employees.

The first bill filed today by Sen. Schupp requires all people in a passenger vehicle to wear a seat belt when the vehicle is being operated on a Missouri street or highway. Current statute only requires front seat passengers and children under 16 years of age to buckle up. The bill would also make failure to comply with seat belt requirements a primary violation.

“According to the Missouri Highway Patrol last year, 312 Missourians tragically died in car accidents while not wearing their seat belts and another 1,082 suffered disabling injuries. These are deaths and injuries that may have been prevented if seat belts had been worn,” Schupp said. “Increasing seat belt requirements and allowing police to enforce them as primary violations is a proven strategy for saving lives.”

Sen. Schupp’s second bill filed today also increases road safety by banning texting and driving for all drivers. Under current law, it is only illegal for novice drivers, or drivers younger than 22 years old, to text and drive. Missouri is one of only four states where texting and driving is still legal.

“Missouri is lagging behind in its efforts to reduce distracted driving, and the consequences are grave,” Schupp said. “Texting and driving is a dangerous distraction, not just for those under age 22, but for all of us. It is time for the law to require responsible driving habits of all drivers, not just some.”

Sen. Schupp’s third bill requires all employees or volunteers of any healthcare institution that is inspected by the Department of Health and Senior Services to receive an annual influenza vaccination. Inoculations would need to be administered within three months prior to the beginning of flu season as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We need to be vigilant in ensuring the health of patients who are receiving medical care is not compromised by someone unwittingly carrying the flu virus,” Schupp said. “Taking common sense precautions can go a long way in protecting some of the most vulnerable among us.”

For more information on Sen. Schupp’s legislation, visit her official Senate website.

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