Sunday Night: Sunshine and a seatbelt

By MaryHelen Swanson, editor

I got my sweet little Mustang convertible out of winter storage and she still looks great with that new top my daughter and her husband put on for me last year. There have been some beautiful days that I have enjoyed my ride home with the top down. It’s doctor’s orders, you know. My rheumatologist said I needed more sun. What better way to get it?

One thing about riding in a convertible, though, is that you feel very exposed and vulnerable. Not much there for protection if I should be in an accident. But there is one thing that offers the security I need when I roll down the highway with the wind in my hair – and that’s my seatbelt.

I received a wonderful reminder this week from The Chisago County Law Enforcement Partnership, especially for our teenagers, to buckle up.

Low seat belt use is one reason traffic crashes are the leading killer of Minnesota teenagers they said.

The Law Enforcement Partnership is asking parents, teachers and coaches to stress the buckle up message to keep teens safe.

With the school year coming to a close it is a great opportunity to remind young drivers to buckle up as they head into summer.

Most importantly the partnership says that it is key for teens to speak up in a vehicle to encourage peers to buckle up.

An unbelted motorist can crash into a windshield and slam into and injure or kill other passengers.

Often, an unbelted motorist is ejected from the vehicle and killed.

Parents should remember to talk to their teens about driving, to set rules and reinforce teen driving laws — such as seat belt and no texting laws.

It is also important that parents set and follow through with consequences for irresponsible driving behavior.

It should be everyone’s goal to help reduce the number of teen motor vehicle fatalities.

A statewide Click It or Ticket enhanced seat belt education and enforcement campaign is running May 21–June 3.

Seatbelt surveys conducted on May 4 in 11 Chisago County locations showed that only about 89 percent of drivers are wearing their seatbelts. The surveys will be conducted again after the campaign to determine the effects of media, education and enforcement efforts on seatbelt usage.

Let’s all buckle up and push that number closer to 100 percent.

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