Buckle up, save your life
Cellphones have made distracted driving a dangerous commonality. But recently we all got a reminder of how important a basic safety device can be, and it’s one that has existed since long before the invention of the smartphone: the seat belt.
On Sunday, April 23, six people were injured in a single vehicle crash in White Sands in Calvert County after a Ford Explorer rolled over in the driver’s attempt to avoid debris in the roadway. The passengers, including three juveniles, weren’t wearing seatbelts and some suffered serious injuries. Among other injuries, a 5-year-old child not wearing a seat belt was ejected from the vehicle and an infant in a car seat unsecured was injured.
Incidents like this simply should not happen any more. While Maryland law only requires that drivers and front-seat passengers wear seatbelts, all passengers should be secured with a seatbelt while the vehicle is in motion. This is a simple case of cost and benefit analysis: The potential for injury or death from not wearing a seat belt is simply too great to spare the few seconds it takes to click the restraint.
Whether the vehicle is just headed around the corner or across the county, seatbelts can save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Injury Center, 21,022 passengers of vehicles died in crashes in 2014. More than half of those aged 13 to 44 who died in crashes in 2014 were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
Maryland’s child safety seat law requires that all children under the age of 8 be secured in a federally approved safety seat, unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches or taller. Every child from 6 to 16 years old who is not secured in a child restraint must be secured by a seatbelt, regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle.
While it takes a bit longer to secure a young child in a car seat than it does for an adult to simply connect their own seat belt, life is too precious to save those few minutes or seconds.