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Letter to the Editor: Buckle up for Thanksgiving

By LOUIS R. DECAROLIS
Regional Administrator
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Lakewood, Colo

As the Thanksgiving Holiday approaches, many Americans will take to the highways to visit family and friends. This is an important time to remind everyone of the importance of buckling up on every trip.

Seat belts do save lives and there is never a good reason not to wear a seatbelt. Seat belts reduce fatalities by up to 45 percent in passenger cars and 60 percent in light trucks. Let's take a look at a few of the reasons why some people choose not to wear their seat belts and the truths behind them.

"I'm a good driver." Even if you have a perfect driving record and have never been involved in a traffic collision, it is not a sound reason to avoid wearing your seat belt. Poor drivers can cause crashes with even the best of drivers.

"I'm just going to the store." Nearly 52 percent of all traffic crashes occur within 5 miles of the victims' home, and nearly 77 percent of all traffic crashes occur within 15 miles of home. So when you are "just going to the store" is the most important time to wear a seat belt.

"My car has airbags, so I don't need to wear my seat Wt." Airbags are not meant to take the place of seat belts, they were meant to enhance their safety. An airbag increases the effectiveness of a seat belt by up to 40 percent.

"They're uncomfortable." There are many ways to make your seat belt more comfortable. At the local auto dealer or auto parts store you can find clips and extenders to customize the fit of your seat belt. And remember, seat belts are much more comfortable than an ambulance and a hospital bed.

Buckling up is the most effective and immediate way to save lives and reduce injuries from crashes on America's roadways. The best way for you to help is to make sure everyone is always buckled up in your vehicle - every trip, every time.





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