Encouraging teens to wear seat belts

As much as parents hope their teens will never be in a car accident, no one can assume that this will never happen. One of the easiest ways to be prepared is to wear a seat belt. However, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, over 51 percent of fatally injured drivers ages 16 to 19 and over 60 percent of fatally injured passengers in the same age range were not restrained. Motor vehicle crashes are the primary cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 20.

Although Texas has passed laws mandating seat belt use for every person in the vehicle, it may take much more than the potential for a traffic ticket to convince teens to buckle up. Research indicates that many are influenced by parent involvement by way of modeling behaviors, setting rules and providing information. Awareness programs through the community and through social media may also prompt compliance, as well as incentives through school programs and others. It may also make a difference if teens are encouraged to watch out for each other and promote safety belt use to friends.

In a recent accident involving two Texas teens, a seat belt may have saved the life of a 17-year-old girl who was thrown from a vehicle when it hit a barrier and then rolled, according to KXXV-TV. Authorities reported that the young woman died of blunt trauma injuries at the scene of the accident. The other teen, who also was not restrained, received serious injuries but survived. There were no other vehicles involved. It is not clear which teen was driving, or what caused the crash.

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