AAA, area law enforcement remind residents seat belts save lives

Seat Belt Stats and Facts
Seat Belt Stats and Facts

As people in the Miami Valley begin to plan their summer vacations and travels, AAA and multiple area law enforcement agencies and organizations are reminding residents about the importance of wearing a seat belt.

In 2019 and 2020, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported more than 102,000 crashes with occupants who didn’t wear a seat belt. More than 1,100 of those crashes were fatal.

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Seat belts are the most effective way to decrease the risk of dying in a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Association.

“This is a good time of year to remind everyone to wear their seat belts” says Kara Hitchens, AAA spokesperson. “With summer vacations coming up, buckling up – every trip, every time can save lives.”

While the national seat belt use rate is nearly 91%, about 27.5 million people still don’t buckle up, according to AAA.

AAA is partnering with the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, Montgomery County Safe Communities Coalition, Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Greene County Engineer’s Office and local law enforcement agencies from Beavercreek, Fairborn and Xenia to raise awareness about seat belt safety.

Starting on Monday the Ohio State Patrol is kicking off its Operation CARE All-American Buckle Up campaign which will focus on seat belt enforcement.

“It’s plain and simple – safety belts save lives,” said Colonel Richard S. Fambro. “Properly wearing a safety belt increases a person’s chance of surviving a crash.”

The three-year average of crash fatalities is up 22% in Ohio, according to patrol. From 2018 through 2021, Ohio is averaging 342 traffic fatalities.

The initiative will last through Memorial Day night.