BUCKLING UP MAKES SENSE, SAVES LIVES

December 18, 2001 12:00 am

Buckling up makes

sense, saves lives

Wearing safety belts while driving or riding in a car isnt just a law. Wearing safety belts makes sense and saves lives. People who havent gotten in the habit of connecting their belts need only look at the results of rollover accidents to see what a difference being strapped in can make.

Safety belts arent going to eliminate fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. Nor do airbags. Some collisions occur at such a force that no safety measures can protect a vehicles occupants. But in most cases, being belted in greatly improves the chance of surviving an accident, especially in a rollover. Over the past couple of years those of us right here in Northeast Oregon have seen several instances where drivers and passengers have been ejected from cars because they werent belted in, and too often the result has been a fatality.

Several years ago Oregon joined the list of states that were requiring drivers and passengers to buckle up.

The law created an outcry from people who didnt want the government telling them what to do. But over time, most people have accepted the fact that buckling up is the law and a practice that helps reduce injuries.

Still, as we learn from time to time through tragic news stories about accidents, there are those who, for one reason or another, are not buckling up. And too often their families are forced to suffer the pain, heartbreak and grief that comes with having someone they love killed or seriously injured in an accident.

Safety belts arent a guarantee that you can avoid being killed in a crash. But statistics show that they greatly increase the chance of surviving. If you know someone who refuses to wear a safety belt, tell them you wish theyd buckle up because the people who love them really wish they would.

Lets all get into the habit of buckling up. Not because we have to, but because it matters.

TAKE YOUR TIME

With the weather weve been enduring the past few weeks and the high number of fatal accidents weve seen, wed all be wise to take every safety step we can when we venture out onto snowy and icy roads. Buckling up is certainly a key to enhancing our safety when were traveling, but so is making sure our vehicles are properly equipped and our driving styles are prepared for dangerous conditions.

The roads will be filled with cars and trucks as Christmas week approaches. When making plans for holiday travel, leave plenty of time. If possible, go a day early and stay a day later to avoid the holiday rush. We can all benefit by being more cautious.