published Monday, July 11th, 2011

Seat belts and safety

It has been known for decades that buckling up is a good way to enhance the safety of drivers and passengers alike.

And now we have even more evidence of that right here in Tennessee.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Office says that the increasing use of seat belts is saving lives across the state.

By roughly this point in 2010, Tennessee had suffered 501 traffic deaths. In 2011, though, there have been only 415 traffic fatalities so far. The figure in Chattanooga is down by 16 deaths this year compared with this point in 2010.

State officials attributed the drop in deaths directly to greater use of seat belts.

A University of Tennessee at Chattanooga study found that seat belt use had risen from about 82 percent in 2010 to about 87 percent in 2011.

“[P]eople are starting to see the carnage that happens in accidents when people are not using a seat belt,” said Clint Shrum, law enforcement liaison for the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “That one act can determine whether you live or die in a crash.”

We should all embrace that easy, commonsense way to save lives.

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