For many, memorial day marks the beginning of summer. Memorial Day, however, is much more than vacation and barbecues. It is a day when we can look back and remember and honor the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces. With Memorial Day comes high traffic volumes on our interstates and other highly traveled roads.
On a weekend when we specifically take time to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, it seems only appropriate that we express gratitude and and humility in the way we drive. When the roads are packed with anxious drivers flurrying about to their favorite vacation destination, be generous with the road, let people merge, slow down at intersections, leave your phone in your pocket, don’t travel at excessive speeds, and don’t be angry with folks who drive the speed limit. Remember that you are going on your vacation this weekend because a soldier gave his or her life.
“We have made enormous progress as a nation in increasing seat belt use, but far too many people are still dying because they are not buckled up during crashes,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Before you even turn the key, make sure that everyone in your car has their seat belt on, every trip, day and night.”
We are right in the middle of the campaign right now and this weekend will cap off the two week period where law enforcement, both local and state, crack down on motorists who are not wearing seat belts.
“It’s a simple idea that every driver and passenger should keep in mind: buckle up, every time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Putting on your seat belt is one of the easiest and safest choices you can make.”
Violation of this Virginia law results in a $25 civil penalty.
NHTSA boasts that from 2011 to 2015, seat belts have saved nearly 64,000 lives, enough to fill a football stadium. In 2015 alone, seat belts saved more than 13,941 lives.
Data from NHTSA show that nearly half (48%) of the 22,441 occupants killed in crashes in 2015 were unbuckled. In addition, 57 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 40 percent killed during the daytime. Men continue to outnumber women in not wearing seat belts – 52 percent to 42 percent respectively. Pickup truck occupants tend to be the lowest among any other vehicle type in wearing seat belts –59 percent of drivers killed were not wearing a seat belt, compared to 54 percent for SUV drivers, 42 percent for passenger car drivers, and 41 percent for van drivers. View the 2015 occupant protection data
It is in your best interest to buckle up to save yourself, and your family, from enormous tragedy. Nobody wants that.
NHTSA’s commercials are pretty convincing portrayals for why increased enforcement is a good idea and why you should wear your seat belt. So buckle up, it just might save your life.