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Guest column/Always remember to buckle up

December 10, 2011

There is simply no disputing that wearing a safety belt can save your life. That is why the Ohio State Highway Patrol is encouraging all motorists to buckle up this holiday season and continue to do so throughout the New Year. Last year, more than 60 percent of the people killed on Ohio's roadways were not wearing a safety belt.

It's simple - safety belts save lives and reduce injury in crashes. It is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself, your family and your friends.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, safety belts save more than 13,000 lives every year and remain the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.

Choosing to wear a safety belt is a personal choice, and Ohio's safety belt compliance rate indicates that motorists are doing so more now than ever.

According to Ohio's 2010 Observational Seatbelt Survey, 83.8 percent of motorists were found to be in compliance with Ohio's safety belt law. This is a significant increase from the 72.9 percent observed in 2002. While these rates have steadily increased, far too many Ohioans still do not buckle up.

In 2010, 467 of the people killed on Ohio's roadways were not wearing an available safety belt.

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 to be not wearing their belt.

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

(Johnson is commander of the Steubenville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.)

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