The pediatric emergency room entrance at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado, was the backdrop for a press conference Tuesday at which speakers urged young drivers to wear their seat belts.
Among those reminding young drivers about the catastrophic results of being in a vehicle crash without wearing a seat belt were: Tracy Sherman, president of the board of the South Metro Safety Foundation; Dr. Amy Johnson, pediatric emergency medicine physician at Sky Ridge Medical Center; and three students from Chaparral High School who developed a teen driving safety campaign last year.
Safety Communications Manager Sam Cole of the Colorado Department of Transportation, which held the teen safety back-to-school outreach event, said:
Driving or riding without a seat belt is incredibly dangerous to everyone in a vehicle. There is a seat belt crisis in Colorado, and we need to do everything in our power to persuade parents and their kids to buckle up every time they’re in the car.
According to CDOT, the number of drivers from 15 to 20 years old who were involved in a fatal crash in Colorado rose 28% between 2009 and 2014.
A national study of fatal crashes has found that adult use of seat belts has a direct relationship with children being properly restrained in vehicles. When adult drivers wore seat belts, the children in their vehicles were restrained 94% of the time. When adult drivers who were not buckled up, only 30% of children in their vehicles were restrained according to law.
Seat Belt Education Mobile App
Douglas County Public Schools has a mobile app that it will use to educate the public about the importance of wearing seat belts, and of making sure that children in vehicles are properly restrained. Sky Ridge Medical Center’s website says that when a rider is not wearing a seat belt in a crash, he or she can become a projectile, raising the risk of serious injury or death of others in the vehicle by 40%.
If you do not wear a seat belt, you have a 30 times greater risk of being thrown from the vehicle in a crash. An unbuckled rear-seat passenger increases the risk that the driver will be killed by 137%, compared with a rear-seat passenger who is wearing a seat belt.
Seat Belt Facts
Here are CDOT’s 8 Things You Don’t Know About Seat Belts:
- You still need to wear seat belts even when you are traveling at slower speeds. “Even crashing at 25 mph is like falling from a second-story window.
- Make sure everyone in the car is wearing their seat belt. Otherwise an unbelted person can become a projectile in a crash, seriously injuring or even killing others.
- You are not any safer unbuckled in the back seat than in the front seat.
- Not wearing a seat belt increases the likelihood by 3,000% that you will be thrown from the car in a crash. “[A]nd the chances of survival are very slim if that happens.”
- Seat belts keep you in place by your hips and sternum, two of your body’s strongest parts. But in a crash, your soft tissues (brain, spinal cord, and internal organs) can be seriously injured.
- In addition to saving lives, seat belts save individuals and Colorado a lot of money — more than $623 million annually in medical expenses and loss of work.
- If you are not wearing a seat belt and are not killed in a crash, but “only” seriously injured, you could wind up being dependent on friends and family for the rest of your life.
- Fully a quarter of all people who do not wear seat belts believe they do not improve a person’s safety.
By helping to share the word about how seat belts do keep people safer, you can help to save lives.
Image by monikma/123RF.