Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Seatbelt wear: a no-brainer

by Master Sgt. Shawn Turcotte

21st Space Wing Safety Office

— Why should you wear a seatbelt? The expert to answer that question may be one of the 55,000 people saved by one in the last 10 years.

Or maybe the real experts on why you should wear a seatbelt are the families and friends of those individuals who would still be alive had they chosen to buckle up. The fact is, at least one American dies every hour because he or she didn’t buckle up. So why do normally intelligent, discerning, clever, rational individuals still refuse to wear their seatbelts? According to an article in the National Safety Council magazine Safety and Health, the most common reasons are:

1. Seatbelts are uncomfortable. If you find this to be true, the rational thing to do is to find a way to make it more comfortable. You can find many products on the market to pad and adjust your seatbelt in order to fit you. The consequences from not wearing it could bring new meaning to the word uncomfortable.

2. I’m only driving to the store. Many people feel a short trip in the car does not warrant a seatbelt. The fact is, more than 70 percent of crashes occur within 25 miles of home and 80 percent are at speeds of less than 40 miles per hour.

3. If I don’t wear my seatbelt, I’ll be thrown clear of the accident. Unfortunately, this is a true statement, but not a positive one. If you are thrown out of your vehicle during an accident, you are 25 times more likely to be killed than if you were safely buckled in.

4. A seatbelt will trap me in my car if it catches fire or goes into a lake. Even if you happen to have the bad luck to be involved in one of the one-half of one percent of accidents that involve fire or submersion, you are still better off being secured by a seatbelt. Your chances of escaping your vehicle in a timely manner are greater if you have a seatbelt on to keep you conscious and mobile.

5. Hey, it’s my life! This is the scariest answer you can hear. True, it may be your life, but what about the family and friends who will suffer if the unimaginable happens to you? Who takes care of the family you leave behind? Who takes your place at work? The fact is, your decision to not buckle up could have a long-lasting effect on a lot of people.

If your vehicle is equipped with an air bag, it’s important to remember they only provide supplemental protection and must be used with a lap and shoulder belt. Also, remember to follow all manufacturers’ instructions when infants or small children are in a vehicle equipped with airbags.

The bottom line is, every time we climb into our vehicles we are putting our lives and the lives of our passengers at risk. By simply putting on a seatbelt and ensuring everyone in your vehicle wears one, you could very well be a lifesaver.

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