Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Drivers should follow law, wear seat belts

By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 4, 2013 at 1:04 a.m.

Driving is a big responsibility. Every day, millions of Americans get in their cars and drive to work, the grocery store, school and more. And every day, thousands of people will be involved in traffic accidents.

That is why the Texas Department of Transportation once again held its Click It or Ticket campaign to encourage drivers to wear their seat belts from May 20 to June 2. According to the TxDOT campaign website, there were 5,062 wrecks in 2012 in which the vehicle occupants were unrestrained and suffered fatal or serious injury. That is a frightening, shocking number, and we encourage drivers to remember this whenever they get into their vehicles.

Many of our readers may have grown up during a time when seat belts were not required. But today, drivers and passengers can be fined up to $200 for not wearing a seat belt, including passengers in the backseat. Besides the financial benefits, wearing a seat belt also reduces your risk of serious injury if you are involved in a wreck. If you are in a car, your risk is reduced by 45 percent, and it goes down by 60 percent if you are in a truck.

We encourage all of the drivers in the Crossroads to take the extra second to buckle up before driving anywhere. You may have confidence in your driving skills, but none of us are immortal or perfect. All it takes is one little mistake, a moment of distraction or one of a myriad of uncontrollable incidents to turn a vehicle into a dangerous weapon hurtling out of control. The decision to wear a seat belt is not a lack of confidence in your abilities as a driver; it is a precaution when facing the very real risks of the unexpected.

Anyone inside a moving vehicle, driver or passenger, needs to wear a seat belt. No matter if you are moving at 10 or 70 mph, there is no way to know exactly what will happen in the future. It is better to play it safe and protect yourself than to depend on blind luck. No one ever thinks bad things will happen to them, but an accident can happen anywhere to anyone. Don't let yourself be listed with other tragic statistics. Wear your seat belt. It might save your life.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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