Highway Patrol: Safety belts save lives

Staff report

BUCYRUS — There is no disputing that wearing a safety belt can save your life. The Ohio Highway Patrol encourages all motorists to buckle up this upcoming holiday season and continue to do so throughout the new year. From 2013-2015 1,151 people were killed in crashes across Ohio who were not wearing an available safety belt.

“It’s simple. Safety belts save lives and reduce injury in crashes,” said Lt. Scott Rike, commander of the Bucyrus post. “It is the easiest and most effective action you can take to protect yourself, your family and your friends.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 394 lives were saved in Ohio and 13,941 were saved nationwide in 2015 as a direct result of motorists buckling up.

According to Ohio’s 2015 Observational Seatbelt Survey, 83.9 percent of motorists were found to be in compliance with Ohio’s safety belt law. This is a decrease from the 85 percent observed in 2014, the record high. Occupants of light trucks (80 percent) and those who were 15-25 years old (82 percent) were below the statewide rate. Women (88 percent) were more likely to wear safety belts than men (81 percent). Male passengers of motor vehicles aged 15-25 only had a 64 percent usage rate, the lowest in the survey. While these rates appear high, far too many Ohioans still do not buckle up.

Ohio’s safety belt law remains a secondary violation; however, troopers continue zero tolerance enforcement when motorists are stopped for other violations and are found unbuckled. Safety belt usage rates in the 34 states with primary safety belt laws continue to be higher than the rates in states with secondary laws like Ohio (91percent versus 79 percent in 2015). Troopers wrote 118,358 citations in 2015, for failure to wear a safety belt.

Troopers ask that you wear your safety belt every time and insist that those who travel with you buckle up as well.


Staff report