Buckle up, folks

Published 10:03 am Friday, October 11, 2013

Law enforcement agencies all over Minnesota have ramped up seat belt enforcement in October, and there’s nothing wrong with that, seeing as that is the law. There’s really no excuse for driving or riding without wearing a seatbelt. For the safety of everyone on Minnesota roads, we encourage drivers and passengers to click it every time.

There were 17 fatalities on Mower County roads from 2008 to 2012, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and eight of those motorists were unbelted.

Seat belts can save lives, but they can also be the difference between a bad day and a bad day that includes a trip to the hospital. According to the DPS, drivers and passengers are six times more likely to be injured in a motor vehicle accident if they fail to buckle up. Sure, there’s that rare situation where not being buckled would actually be safer, but it’s not a likely scenario in a crash.

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“It’s uncomfortable,” “I forgot,” “I didn’t have time,” “I was only driving a couple blocks,” — these are nothing more than cheap excuses.

It should be an automatic reaction to buckle up when getting in a car, even as a passenger. Unbuckled occupants in a vehicle can quickly become projectiles in a crash situation, putting others at risk.

Driving is one of the most dangerous activities most people do on a regular basis, and it’s easy to become numb to the fact that at 55, 60 or 70 miles-per-hour, it doesn’t take much for something to go very wrong.

Most consider themselves “safe drivers,” but when a deer jumps out of the ditch, a minivan runs a stop sign or a drunk driver swerves too far across the center line, safety is often left up to the preventive measures taken.

After knowing the numbers and hearing the horror stories of lost loved ones, everybody should know better than to drive anywhere without a seat belt, but the boosted enforcement on Minnesota roads is a good reminder to all that seat belts should always be used when driving or riding in a vehicle.