Bad News and Some Good Advice: Buckle up, Vermont!

May 24, 2016  
Filed under Health & Wellness

First the bad news. Traffic fatalities in Vermont have increased in 2016 by over 80% compared to last year at this time. That’s over 30% above the previous three-year average. And more than a third of the fatal crash victims were unbelted. Could they have been saved, had they only taken a minute to buckle up? We will never know. But we do know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are the single most effective safety device for preventing death and injury on the road, and can reduce the risk of death or injuries by nearly 50 percent in cars, and more in larger vehicles.

Vermont law requires ALL occupants of a motor vehicle to be restrained with a safety belt or federally approved child restraint system. Yet while 2015 usage was up to 86% in Vermont, compliance was still 2.5% below the national average and even our own state record of 87.3% in 2008. We can do better. And we should!

Safety belts hold us in a safe, comfortable position for better control of the vehicle and optimal airbag protection. They are most effective when the belt fits snugly across the hips, not over the stomach, then across the center of the chest and over the shoulder, away from the neck – NEVER under your arm or behind your back. And many vehicles have adjustments for a more comfortable fit. Wearing your belt is easy and safer, so why not do it?

Sadly, it’s too late for too many of us, but the remaining 14% out there still have a chance. This year’s national Click it or Ticket mobilization is May 16th through 30th but every day, all year, is the right time to buckle up whenever you’re on the road. Because it’s the law and it’s just plain common sense. Come on, do it for your family.

 

Information, tips and reminders from those who work to keep Vermont drivers safe –

VT State Police, VT Department of Motor Vehicles, VT Agency of Transportation, VT Sheriffs Association, and AARP Driver Safety, members of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance.

 

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