seat belts

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Live it Up…That Means Belt Up

Two seconds is all it takes to save your life: reach, pull, buckle. This act could not be simpler, yet the seat belt statistics continue to be disheartening. Last year’s national average seat belt use was 87%, ranging from 68.7% in South Dakota to 98.2% in Oregon.  

The reasons cited for not wearing seat belt range from, “they wrinkle my clothes,” to, “I don’t think the government has the right to tell me I have to.” Whether it is pragmatism or principles guiding the rejection of the safety belt, they are excuses that pale in comparison to the lifesaving properties of the seat belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury.

During 4th of July weekend in 2013, approximately 2/3 of all vehicle occupants killed in collisions within the California Highway Patrol’s jurisdiction were not buckled up.

When people—especially young ones—die in preventable crashes, the ripple effect is immense. It is not just their family and friends who feel the impact, but also the entire community, including the brave first responders who experience the trauma altogether too often. Impact Teen Drivers’ number one goal is to stop preventable deaths from car crashes. The first component of that is empowering individuals to make the conscious commitment to safe driving to minimize the chances of getting in a crash in the first place; the second component of that: seat belts. If a crash does occur, we want people to maximize their chances of survival.

About half the people who died in fatal car crashes last year would still be alive today had they made the decision to wear their seat belt. Role model good driving behaviors. Lose the excuse. Remember to belt up every ride. It is that simple to keep twice as many people alive.

A Story that Never Needed to be Told

There is a reason a family would choose to share the worst moment of their life with complete strangers. The affected family members of crash victims join the Impact Teen Drivers team because it is their genuine desire that no other family ever experience the immeasurable pain of losing a loved one in a preventable car crash. 

Sydnee was just under a month away from turning 18 when she lost her life in a distracted driving crash. Described by friends and family as loving and adventurous, “with a sixth sense for recognizing when someone needed a shoulder to cry on or a word of encouragement,” Sydnee had a future as bright as her personality.  

On the night of October 18th, 2013, Sydnee was driving to a Pumpkin Festival with two of her closest friends in the car. The road was flat, weather conditions unremarkable. Later, first responders would disclose that phone distraction was the singular cause of the crash. Sydnee’s decision to use her phone caused her to lose control of her car, and her decision not to wear her seatbelt caused her to lose her life.

 Sydnee’s remarkable family chooses to tell their story not because it is a sad story. They paint a vibrant picture of an effervescent young lady, whose future ended prematurely, and of preventable causes.  They tell their story because it is a story that never needed to be told—a story about events that never needed to occur. They tell their story to save lives.

Reckless and distracted driving IS the number one killer of teens in America, and it is 100% preventable.

Do not use your phone behind the wheel of a car: no text, phone call, nothing will ever be worth taking your life or someone else’s life.

Wear your seatbelt 100% of the time, and wear it properly 100% of the time.

Take responsibility as a passenger. Be attentive and speak up: everyone in the car has responsibility for making the drive safe.

Share this message, and most importantly, don’t let it happen to you.