CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Wearing a seat belt can be the difference between life and death.
Ohio State Highway Patrol claims that wearing a seat belt is one of the most important factors in keeping drivers and their passengers safe on the road.
Sergeant Eric Brown says that during a crash, there are two impacts: the vehicle hitting the object, and the momentum that follows the collision.
“That seat belt is going to keep you restrained in the car. It’s going to keep you from colliding with the steering wheel or the windshield, or being ejected from the vehicle,” he said.
In the crash on Saturday night in Ellsworth Township, the driver was thrown from an SUV. He was not wearing a seatbelt. It’s still too early to know if wearing it could have saved his life.
“The passenger compartment was pretty much in tact,” Brown said. “The airbags were deployed, however he was not wearing his seat belt.”
Three men were taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital last Wednesday after their trucks crashed on Route 82 in Brookfield Township. A passenger in one of the trucks was not wearing a seat belt.
Lieutenant Brian Holt stresses how important it is to buckle up.
“We find the amount of injuries tremendously reduced when folks wear their seat belts,” Holt said.
Not wearing a seat belt is a secondary citation in Ohio, so an officer can’t pull you over strictly for not using one.
Last year, 474 people who were not wearing seat belts died in crashes statewide. Fifty seven percent of fatal crashes involve someone who is not wearing a seat belt. Those fatalities have been increasing in Ohio for three years in a row.