Opinion / The Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com
For your sake, buckle up
The annual National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's nationwide "Click It or Ticket" campaign is under way through Memorial Day weekend.
Police are on the lookout for drivers and passengers - especially teens and young adults - who are not wearing seat belts.
It's funny how something so simple that can actually save a life is still being ignored by some drivers. And who's ignoring it the most? Police are pointing a finger at young men age 18 to 34 who drive pickup trucks. They are among those found most often not buckled up.
What's Virginia's law for seat belt usage?
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the driver and front seat passengers are required to wear seat belts, and all persons under age 18 must be in a child safety seat or wear a seat belt regardless of where they are sitting. A seat belt violation is not a primary offense in Virginia, meaning that an officer cannot pull a motorist over for that reason, but drivers pulled over for other reasons can be charged if an officer observes a safety belt violation.
Here are some more NHTSA facts about seat belt usage that you might want to remember the next time you get into a vehicle:
- Most fatal crashes occur within 25 miles from home
- 3,341 motor vehicle passengers 5 years old and up could have been saved in 2010 if they had been wearing a seat belt.
- 66 percent of men ages 18 to 34 years old who died in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing a seat belt.
- 78 percent of those ejected from a vehicle during an accident suffered fatal injuries.
- 70 percent of those 18 to 34 years old killed in rural vehicle crashes between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. were unbuckled.
- Seat belt usage is higher in states in which occupants can be pulled over specifically for not using a seat belt as compared with states that have weaker enforcement. Virginia is among those states with weaker enforcement.
- More than 3 million seat belt citations have been written nationwide during the "Click It or Ticket" in the past five years.
Save yourself some money, and possibly your life, by buckling up today and every day.