Virginia sees 100 percent Increase in Deaths among Un-belted Young PeopleHot Buzz

July 26, 2018 10:06
Virginia sees 100 percent Increase in Deaths among Un-belted Young People

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The number of young adults killed in Virginia traffic crashes while not wearing seatbelts has risen dramatically in 2018, compared to earlier this year.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), 18 excessive human deaths were recorded between January 1 and June 30, 2018, which constituted a 100 percent increase from 9 deaths during the same time frame in 2017.

Of the 18 fatalities for people between 15 and 20, one of them happened in Shenandoah County. The others were scattered across the commonwealth, with no others in the Shenandoah Valley.

"We must find a way to reverse this startling trend," said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. "Safety is our highest priority. Simply by wearing a seatbelt, you can reduce the risk of dying in a vehicle crash by 45 percent."

In the same time period, Virginia recorded a 34 percent increase in people between 21 and 35 who died not wearing seatbelts in crashes, from 41 deaths in the start of 2017 to 55 in the start of 2018.

According to the DMV, the total number of fatalities among people without seatbelts is the exact same as in 2017: 138. But a much larger portion of that number is made up of younger people.

In all of 2017, 843 people died as a result of crashes, including motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Fifty-two percent of those who died were people who did not put on their seatbelts.

"Think about it this way," said Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. "When you're in a moving vehicle, your body is moving at the same speed. When the vehicle stops, you need to stop, too. The only way to ensure that happens is by being buckled into the vehicle. Otherwise, your body's unbelted momentum can result in being tossed around inside or even ejected from the vehicle. That's how people get killed and injured in crashes. One click – problem solved."

Virginia law requires all drivers and front seat passengers to wear safety belts, though it's not an offense you can be pulled over for citations can only be issued alongside another primary offense.

By Sowmya Sangam

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