Why do we even have to bring this up again? Because as often as we are told, as many road signs we drive by and as often as data is thrust into headlines, there are still thousands of people that refuse to wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle.
This comes up again now because Pennsylvania State Police released an extensive report about holiday driving, offering a glimpse into road infractions and crash data from the four-day weekend.
State police reported there were fewer crashes this Labor Day weekend than the same time frame in 2018. Drunk driving arrests were also down by 5 percent, from 643 in 2018 to 610 in 2019. Patrols from Troop F, which includes the entire Susquehanna Valley, investigated 45 crashes, including one fatal. Troopers issued 11,742 speeding citations and 138 citations to travelers for not securing children in safety seats across Pennsylvania over the holiday.
There were also seven fatal crashes across the state in areas covered by state police. Of the seven people killed, only two were wearing seat belts. The other five weren’t.
No one can know for certain if those five killed would have survived if they had on a seat belt. Their odds of survival would have increased, though.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the national rate for seat belt usage in 2018 was 89.6 percent, so 9 in 10 are wearing seat belts.
According to the NHTSA, an estimated 14,955 lives were saved in 2017. The NHTSA writes, “Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47 percent were not wearing seat belts. In 2017 alone, seat belts could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts.”
Over the holiday weekend, there were nearly 1,900 citations written by state troopers for seat belt violations across Pennsylvania.
Clicking a seat belt should be non-negotiable for anyone in a vehicle. If you are behind the wheel and a passenger doesn’t buckle, then the vehicle shouldn’t move. Set the standard and live by it.
The NHTSA says that child restraint drops by 40 percent when a parent doesn’t use a seat belt. So your kids are watching too, and learning.
If all of these statistics aren’t enough to convince you, offer one good reason why you shouldn’t wear a seat belt.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.