Seat belts save lives

Published 8:24 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It would seem the statistic speaks for itself.

Fifty-five percent of those killed in passenger vehicle crashes in 2008 were not wearing a seat belt according to data provided by the National Highway Safety Administration.

But yet, even with a majority of those not wearing a seatbelt are killed in an accident, there are still those among us who still make the conscious decision to not wear a seatbelt while driving.


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And, as a result of that small decision, they lose seriously injured or killed, leaving behind family and friends wondering “what if.”

Wednesday, the General Assembly moved two pieces of legislation further down the road to becoming law that would significantly impact the Commonwealth’s current seat belt laws.

Both Senate bills, the first would require anyone under the age of 19, sitting in the backseat of a vehicle, to wear a seat belt. The second requires everyone in the car to wear a seat belt, regardless of where they sit.

Both measures received overwhelming support by state senators, with only a few casting no votes.

Other legislation offered would add teeth to the state’s seat belt laws and offer consequences to those being found not wearing one. And the part that would add teeth to the laws would make any failure to wear a seat belt a primary traffic offense, moving it from the secondary offense it is now.

Often times the laws of men, such as the proposed legislation, are designed to combat man-made problems. In this case, these laws are designed to help protect ourselves from ourselves.

When we have such astounding statistics about the horrific injuries and deaths that simply wearing a seat belt could have prevented, it is amazing a law is even needed.

There are those who say government should find better things to do than infringing upon us further – but in this case, the mere numbers of those killed and those still not wearing seat belts calls for governmental action.