Recent wrecks serve as a reminder of the importance of buckling up

By  | 

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) Two young people died this week in separate vehicle crashes in the area, and authorities say neither driver was buckled up.

That has local safety experts warning about the dangers of driving without your seat belt on. The Texas Department of Transportation reports about nine percent of drivers still choose to travel without wearing a seat belt. 91 percent of people typically wear them.

"It's time to get serious about wearing seat belts," said Mary Jo Prince, with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. Prince educates young people and adults about seat belt safety.

She and her team showed how buckling up kept a dummy adult and child inside a rollover crash.

"It's really our visual message to wear those seat belts. It's called the rollover convincer," she said.

They showed us what happens without them. The adult dummy flew out within a few seconds after the vehicle started rolling.

"You are 45 percent more likely to survive a crash in a personal vehicle such as a car. You are 60 percent more likely to survive a crash if you're driving a pickup and you are wearing your seat belt," she said.

Sunday night a 20-year-old from Waco died after her Mini Cooper Crashed on Wellborn Road in Bryan. Police said the woman wasn't wearing a seat belt.

On Tuesday KBTX did an unscientific study. We stood at University Drive and Tarrow for 20 minutes and saw at least three people not wearing their seat belts behind the wheel.

"We go to a number of wrecks where people are wearing their seat belts; the carnage just looks insane. There's pieces of the parts of the car everywhere and they come out with just a few minor scratches and bruises and they walk away," said Carter Hall with the College Station Fire Department.

The injuries from wearing a seat belt are more survivable.

“Being sore and having a few bruises is way better than being broken, having broken bones or going to the hospital or even being dead," said Hall.

Prince said some of the excuses they hear include people being in a hurry, to thinking they don't need a seat belt for a short trip, to keeping comfortable.

"It is uncomfortable but it's also uncomfortable to have to be in a wheelchair the rest of your life. It's uncomfortable to have to have your family come to your funeral because you weren't wearing your seat belt," said Prince.

The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension said motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teens. They tell us around 42 percent of teens killed in Texas crashes in 2018 weren't buckled up.

Early Monday morning a recent Brenham High School graduate died when his pickup truck crashed and rolled over in Washington County. DPS troopers said he wasn't buckled up.