Safety Belts - Buckle Up

Pair of season tickets to Lambeau Field? $1,500. Night out with friends? $150. Eighteen holes of golf and dinner at the club? $200. Your life? Priceless, one would think, but many still make the choice to not "buckle up." Only 74% of Wisconsinites choose to use their safety belts, which is one of the lowest percentages in the nation.

The single most effective way to protect ourselves from being ejected from our vehicles or being thrown around inside our vehicles is to consistently wear our seat belts. According to the laws of physics, when a vehicle is traveling at 40 miles per hour, its contents and passengers are also moving at 40 miles per hour. In the event of a crash, an unbelted passenger will travel at that speed to the point of impact, colliding with the dashboard, windshield, steering wheel or the passenger next to them. If the passenger is "thrown clear" of the vehicle, there is the risk of impacting telephone poles, trees, or oncoming vehicles. The safest place for a person to be in the event of a crash is inside the vehicle, attached to the seat.

It has been found that we tend to buckle up more often if traveling at high speeds, at night, or in bad weather, but the fact is, most fatalities occur in dry, sunny weather at speeds under 40 miles per hour. We also need to be aware that all drivers are not created equally. Even if you believe you are a safe driver and in control of your vehicle you are always at risk of others who may be tired, drunk, or who didn't see the light change from green to red. Every time we get in a vehicle we place ourselves at risk, and we must understand that our best protection is being belted.

In 2008, over 37,000 people died on American roadways, and another 2.35 million were injured. More than half (55%) of those killed in passenger vehicles were unrestrained. Many of those deaths could have been prevented by simply wearing a seat belt.

Please remember that life is "priceless." "Buckle up," so you or one of your loved ones do not become a Wisconsin statistic.