26 percent is sobering statistic [UPDATED]Published 9:32am Wednesday, May 8, 2013 Updated 11:34am Wednesday, May 8, 2013
A survey earlier this week that found 74 percent of drivers in Fergus Falls wearing their seatbelts may, at first, have sounded like good news. On further consideration, however, it is not, because the flip side of that result is the reality that more than a quarter of drivers are not properly restrained. That is a lot of deaths and injuries waiting to happen.
Over the years, the decision to not wear a seatbelt has become increasingly difficult to support. Modern cars offer an extraordinary amount of crash protection to drivers and passengers. Accidents that once would have been crippling or fatal are now often far less serious.
But — and it is a big “but” — most of that protection assumes that everyone in is wearing a seatbelt.
Long gone, too, are the days when seat belts were even slightly inconvenient. When cars and trucks had long, bench-type seats, a seatbelt might conceivably have interfered with a driver’s freedom of movement.
Now, though, virtually every vehicle’s seat is a form-fitting structure designed to meld with the driver and the seat belt system.
In short, the 26 percent of Fergus Falls drivers who weren’t wearing their seat belts earlier this week need to reconsider their behavior. Two seconds of belt-fastening is a small price for avoiding a lifetime of pain — or the end of a life. The only acceptable statistic for seat belt use is 100 percent.