NORFOLK, NE — It’s a heartbreaking scene, off the highway, where two white crosses mark the spot where two teens lost their lives after being ejected from a car.
The teens weren’t wearing their seat belts.
It’s unfortunately a deadly trend that is on the rise. This past week, from March 12 to March 18, there were nine fatality accidents, according to Nebraska State Patrol Captain Paul Hattan.
“We preach this all the time. If they would just take the time to buckle up, of the nine fatalities we had over the weekend, all nine were unrestrained. 100 percent of the fatal accidents, people weren’t wearing their seat belt.”
In three of those accidents, alcohol was involved. Out of the nine who died, three were only teenagers.
“The fatal accident we had in Thurston County,and it’s so unfortunate, three teenagers and two were thrown out of the vehicle because they didn’t have their seat belts on and those were our fatals. One was wearing a seat belt and was able to walk away from the accident. We can’t stress enough to put your seat belt on.”
Hattan says cars these days are built to keep passengers inside the cabin safe and protected, but they are saying it can’t protect you when you get thrown from the vehicle.
“We can’t say 100 percent of the time people will survive an accident just because they are wearing a seat belt, but we can say it will increase your odds by 80 percent by wearing that seat belt.”
Hattan encourages to teach kids while their young the importance of buckling up.
“We also ask parents, it really starts at the home, educate these teenager to actually put their seatbelt on. It should be normal practice for these teenagers when they get in that driver seat and start that car to put their seatbelt on. We as parents to take that time to teach them that and stay on top of their teenagers to wear that seatbelt.”
If you are still unconvinced that seat belts don’t matter, head over to the Nebraska State Patrol’s website and watch here Trooper Jeffrey Van Stelton’s story. He survived because he wore his seatbelt.