Driving on Missouri Interstate 70 today toward the end of 2012, I saw the electronic signs indicating the number of deaths on Missouri roads this year was 803. This is 3% higher than the deaths in 2011. The most notable statistic indicated on those signs was that 64% of the fatalities were a result of failure to wear a seat belt.
We have written many times on this blog of the relationship of lack of seat belt use and fatalities.
It is well established by now that the use of seat belts greatly reduces traffic related fatalities and injuries.
Seat belt usage has been the most effective device for reducing death and injury on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of seat belts can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent. Assuming that 50% of the 64% of the 803 Missouri traffic related deaths could have been prevented by the use of seat belts, means that roughly 257 lives could have been potentially saved.
This is such a simple solution, but a solution avoided by those that think that “it” could never happen to them. The good news is that nationally, seat belt use is higher than ever. Yet lives are lost needlessly particularly among young drivers.
Statistically, seat belt usage is lower among blacks than any other race, that males use seat belts less than females and that seat belt usage is less among drivers traveling alone than those with passengers.
While air bags provide additional protection, they are no substitute for seat belts.
Please remember that every time you enter a car there is another “accident opportunity.” Once again, we encourage everyone to use seat belts on every trip no matter how short. Please encourage everyone in the vehicle to buckle up – including those in the back seat.
We cannot control many of the things that happen in this world, but we can control the simple things. Buckle up. It is a simple solution to eliminate many needless tragedies.