Buckle up, save lives, curb injuries

Published 12:27 am Wednesday, May 30, 2018

If a fatal accident can be described as such, the good news is only one person died on Mississippi’s highways and interstates over Memorial Day weekend.

The bad news is that citations for people not wearing seatbelts and properly restraining children were way up over the same period in 2017, the Mississippi Highway Patrol reported.

Over the past weekend state troopers issued 717 citations for people not wearing seatbelts compared to 191 seatbelt citations on Memorial Day weekend 2017, and troopers issued 104 citations for child safety restraint violations compared to 45 child restraint violations the same period last year.

Email newsletter signup

Perhaps, the increase in citations for the safety belt and child restraint violations are a result of better patrolling, rather than more people not properly using safety restraints and seatbelts.

In the end, however, the point is moot.

No excuse exists for not buckling up or making sure children are properly restrained. Far too many studies and statistics show that buckling up saves lives:

“A total of 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015,” a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report states. “More than half (range: 52 percent -59 percent) of teens (13-19 years) and adults aged 20-44 years who died in crashes in 2015 were unrestrained at the time of the crash.”

That is just the adults and teenagers who chose not to buckle up, but consider these Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics on children and toddlers whose guardians and parents did not properly secure them:

“In the United States, 663 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes during 2015, and more than 121,350 were injured in 2014.”

Yes, we were lucky only one person died on the state’s highways and interstates last weekend, especially given the increase in people not buckling up or properly restraining children.

Please buckle up. It is not just the law; it also is a proven method to reduce injuries and deaths in traffic accidents.