When the St. Louis night air begins to get crisp and the leaves on the trees slowly start to change their colors, it is a sure sign that schools have reopened their doors to students and autumn is on its way. While it’s important that high school students study math, history, geography and more, perhaps the most important lesson they will learn in this school year will be how to drive safely.

That’s why the Missouri Department of Transportation is asking high schools to help educate young drivers to use their seat belts and put down their phones while they are behind the wheel. Good driving habits help to keep students, their passengers and other motorists from being in motor vehicle crashes that can cause serious injuries and fatalities.

“It’s important that teen drivers realize it only takes one text, one drink, one call, one reach or one distraction to cause one fatal moment,” MoDOT said in a press release, adding that “one clicked seat belt could be the difference between life or death in a car crash.”

The statewide competition to educate young drivers on safe driving is sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and ACT Missouri. It launches Oct. 1 and lasts through the end of the school year.

Good driving habits are crucial, MoDOT says, noting that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death among those who are from 15 to 20 years old.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash caused by a distracted, drunk or otherwise negligent driver, contact a St. Louis attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.