State and local officials are putting names and faces to fatal accidents in the hope of getting more people to buckle up.
Officials from the Nebraska Safety Council announced a new seat belt awareness campaign aimed at counties that have low seat belt usage.
State officials say some northeast Nebraskans are among the worst offenders when it comes to seat belt usage.
“We have six priority counties,” said Mark Segerstrom with the Nebraska Safety Council. “Six counties in the state that have lower than average seat belt usage rates. Unfortunately, Madison and Platte County are two of those six.”
It’s a statistic the families of Dasavor Rodriguez and Shawn Falk know too well. The two teens were killed in a crash south of Norfolk back in March. Neither were wearing their seat belt.
In their memory, the family has teamed with the safety council to try and prevent other families from going through what they did.
“Both families felt very strongly about the benefit of such a program,” said Segerstom. “They just aren’t able to really talk about it quite yet. So they see the benefit in the message.”
Drive Smart Nebraska will be posting billboards with Dasavor and Shawn’s names on them in the Norfolk area, as well as in the Columbus area with Cristyna Pace, who was killed in an accident in Kansas in 2015.
“I think it’s a message that’s good for us to hear and to remind us of the consequences of not buckling up,” Segerstrom said.
Since 1993, 80% of the fatal crashes in Madison County involved someone not wearing a seatbelt.
The message carries particular weight with young Nebraskans. Of each teen killed on Nebraska roads last year, not one of them was wearing a seat belt.