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The Importance of Safety Belts

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The Importance of Safety Belts

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The figures are familiar, 40,000 people die each year in traffic related accidents, which today are the leading cause of death in individuals under the age of thirty-five. However, with the simple use of a properly worn safety belt, more then half of these lives could have been saved. With this information, I believe that the use of a properly worn safety belts is the single most effective way that lives can be saved on America's roadways.

For example, when a car makes contact with an object, the vehicle itself will stop within the first tenth of a second of impact. However, the individual inside will continue at the same speed the vehicle was traveling until another collision occurs stopping them. Unrestrained, the second collision could be with the steering wheel, dashboard, or even the windshield, and at thirty miles per hour would create the same impact caused by falling three stories onto a solid surface such as cement. A properly worn safety belt will keep this second collision from happening, ultimately preventing more injuries and deaths from occurring.

One of the most recent law enforcement efforts to crackdown on the use of seat belts directs attention toward the demographic least likely to buckle up, teens and young adults. "Teens and young adults are killed at far higher rates in crashes because they are caught in lethal intersections of inexperience, risk taking, and low seat belt use," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. "These tragedies are predictable and preventable, using proven techniques like high visibility enforcement mobilizations."

According to recent data from NHTSA, nearly 5,900 teens or young adults, ages 16-20, died in traffic related accidents within the past year. Of these fatalities, an estimated sixty percent were not wearing a safety belt. In essence, researchers believe that most teens do not respond to the possible threat of death or injury that can be caused by vehicle collision. However, teens will...

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