Sheriff Jay Koon

With the holidays coming up, more families will be on the road headed to gatherings and celebrations. Maybe some road trips are in your near future. Whatever the event may be, more time on the road means more opportunities for accidents. Ensure your whole family gets to their destination safely by requiring each member to buckle up. Front seat, back seat, all ages—make sure everyone has a properly fitting seat belt secured for the entire trip.

Did you know that buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in the event of a crash? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 89.6 percent of people use their seat belts while in a moving vehicle. However, in 2017, 47 percent of occupants who were killed in a vehicle crash were unrestrained (NHTSA). Think about how many lives could be saved by wearing a seat belt!

It’s important for your seat belt to fit properly, this is especially a concern for children and young adults. Lap belts must lie snugly across the upper thighs—not stomach. And the shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, not across the face or neck. Children need to be placed in a properly fitting restraint seat. Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt the correct way.

Not buckling up is a primary offense, this means that deputies can stop you for not wearing your safety belt or if your child is not secured in a restraint system. You can be fined for passengers under 17 as well.

Wearing a seat belt is not a one-time conversation—it’s ongoing. Set the example by always clicking it, and remind your children buckling up is the law. When parents ride without seat belts, child seat belt rates drop by 40 percent (NHTSA).

Together, we can save more lives.