Ranch fire department reminds drivers to buckle up

RANCHO SANTA FE — The importance of wearing seat belts when driving or
in a vehicle has long been the focus of safety messages by emergency responders. They
see firsthand just how devastating traffic accidents can be, especially when the occupants have chosen to not use their seat belts. Yet not everyone appears to be heeding the warnings.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every five Americans does not use a seat belt on a regular basis. While seat belts appear to have saved more than 15,000 lives in 2007, it is estimated that another 5,024 lives could have been saved if seat belts had been worn.
The problem is especially great among young people. Nearly 7,570 15- to 20-year-olds were killed in car accidents in 2007. Of those individuals, 2,762 were driving the vehicle and 58 percent were not wearing their seat belts.
The communities of Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch have felt the impact of such a scenario twice within the last several months. Two teenagers have been killed while riding as unrestrained passengers in their friends’ vehicles.
“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of using your seat belt,” said Fire Chief Nick Pavone. “Seat belts should be worn correctly by every passenger every time you get in the car. They may be the primary source of protection from serious injury in the event of an accident.”

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