Buckle Up Phone Down: A Safety Challenge That Can Make a Difference

The Joplin Health Department is challenging teens and all drivers to buckle up and put their phones down to reduce car crashes, as it is the number one cause of death among teenagers. This work is an initiative of the Health Dept. to help reduce motor vehicle-related injuries and fatalities under a contract with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The Buckle Up Phone Down campaign is tackling the two most impactful actions a driver can take to prevent crashes — or survive if one occurs. The Missouri Department of Transportation began “Buckle Up, Phone Down” in 2017 to begin reducing this statistic. This campaign has been adopted by many states and has received national attention.

As part of this effort, Friday, October 21, 2022 has designated as Missouri Buckle Up Phone Down Day. The State of Missouri is pushing for ZERO fatalities on roadways on Friday, October 21.  One way to do this is if everyone would buckle up every time they are in the car, put their phone down, or set it to “do not disturb” while driving. Distracted driving is on the rise. Distracted driving can also include “impaired” driving due to alcohol, drugs, excessive sleepiness, and other activities people do when driving.

The Health Department initiated an informational campaign on its Facebook page with individuals demonstrating the Buckle Up Phone Down symbol. To do this, a person gives a “thumbs up” with their right hand and a “thumbs down” with their left hand. They also encourage many people to participate in this photo opportunity and post it on their own Facebook page using the hashtag #buckleuphonedown

Read more about this initiative and take the pledge at: www.modot.org/bupd

Below are statistics related to this safety promotion that clearly demonstrates the need for all drivers to Buckle Up and put their Phone Down.

Buckle Up:

In 2020, more than 975 people lost their lives in Missouri traffic crashes, an increase of 10% from 2019. Missouri’s current safety belt usage rate is 86% with the unbuckled 14% accounting for 349 fatalities in 2019.

Phone Down:

Over the past five years, cell phone-related crashes in Missouri have increased by 30%, with nearly 2,500 crashes in 2019. Right now, Missouri has a “no texting” law for drivers aged 21 years and under. But distracted driving isn’t just a young driver’s problem. Approximately 70% of drivers using cell phones in Missouri traffic crashes were 22 years of age or older. We are challenging all drivers to honor that ban no matter what their age.


Lynn Iliff Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 204

Learn about what’s new in local health care with Freeman Health System’s online newsletter, Freeman in a Flash. Read about new doctors at Freeman, Breast Cancer Awareness month, upcoming events, and much more below. 

New 3D Mammogram with Patient-Assisted Compression

Freeman Women’s Pavilion is equipped with the latest generation of 3D mammography equipment with patient-assisted compression. Freeman is thefirst and only in region to invest in GE’s Senographe Pristina™ Dueta, a 3-D mammography system that enables women to determine the pressure applied for compression, improving women’s experience and delivering better images. This self-compression tool helps give women a sense of control by enabling them to manually adjust the degree of breast compression.

Fear of pain is one of the most common reasons why women do not schedule a mammogram. A recent study conducted found that painful exams explain why 25% to 46% of women failed to return for further breast imaging. The Pristina approaches this problem in two ways: by making the paddles that compress the breast more flexible and by putting compression control in the hands of the patient.

Call 417.347.7777 to schedule your mammogram today and learn more here.

Interventional Cardiologist Added to the Freeman Team

Freeman Health System is pleased to welcome rheumatologist Dr. Justin Reed to its medical staff. Dr. Reed brings with him his expertise in a new specialty at Freeman. Freeman is expanding its services with Freeman Rheumatology, located at 931 E. 32nd Street, Joplin, in the Freeman Center for Geriatric Medicine.

Rheumatologists diagnosis and treat diseases that affect the muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and bones. They also treat systemic autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and scleroderma.

Dr. Reed said he is excited to be able to bring a limited but much-needed service to the community.

“Rheumatologists deal with very complex diverse set of diseases,” Dr. Reed said. “It’s challenging because a lot of our diseases present insidiously. They can masquerade as other diseases before they fully present themselves in the textbook fashion. So, it takes some patience and diligence and getting to know your patients on a personal level.”

Dr. Reed is currently accepting patients by referral only. Learn more here.

Be a Flu Fighter with Worksite Clinics

It isn’t too late! Maintaining your annual flu vaccination is important because flu viruses evolve quickly and immunity can decline over time.

Freeman offers employers the option to be billed directly or to file insurance, if this is a covered benefit of your plan. On-site flu clinics offer:

  • Convenience – clinics visit your work site
  • Flexible scheduling – appointments available for all shifts, including nights and weekends
  • Efficiency – ability to vaccinate about 45 people per hour

To schedule an on-site flu clinic, please contact Raenna Diaz, Freeman OccuMed On-Site Coordinator, at 417.347.6934. For more information on billing your group health insurance, please contact Shelby Allen, Freeman Prevention & Wellness Supervisor, at 417.347.5646.

National Health Observances

As you plan your Employee Wellness programs and communication, you can find resources at the Department of Health and Human Services Monthly Observances Calendar. Each month focuses on approximately three to six topics of interest. Here are just a few resources for September:

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime? Early diagnosis is critical to survival. Check with your primary care provider to see if you need to schedule a mammogram, and visit freemanhealth.com/breastcancer to learn more about Freeman’s breast cancer services.

Freeman also sponsors the Espresso Yourself Breast Cancer Support Group on the first Tuesday of each month at Joplin Avenue Coffee Shop. To RSVP, to Marcella at 417.347.2662.

Early Detection Screenings Save Lives

Freeman Screen Team offers four screenings for just $100.

  • Stroke Screening/Carotid Artery
  •  Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Screening
  • Osteoporosis Risk Screening

If you’re interested in learning more about these screenings, check out the poster below or call the Screen Team at 417.347.6555.

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