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Safety Belts save lives

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Shattered remnants of a windshield hang inside what’s left of a Mercury Mystique on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. May 24, 2016. Placed just outside the bases main gate by the 21st Space Wing Safety office, the car shows what a person can walk away from if they use their safety belt. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Shattered remnants of a windshield hang inside what’s left of a Mercury Mystique on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. May 24, 2016. Placed just outside the bases main gate by the 21st Space Wing Safety office, the car shows what a person can walk away from if they use their safety belt. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Price, 21st Space Wing Safety Office, affixes a sign to the battered husk of a Mercury Mystique displayed just outside the main gate at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., May 24, 2016. The car, provided by the State of Colorado Traffic Safety awareness program, is part of a statewide campaign to raise awareness by illustrating what a person can survive by simply using their safety belts. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Price, 21st Space Wing Safety Office, affixes a sign to the battered husk of a Mercury Mystique displayed just outside the main gate at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., May 24, 2016. The car, provided by the State of Colorado Traffic Safety awareness program, is part of a statewide campaign to raise awareness by illustrating what a person can survive by simply using their safety belts. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.- -- Summer is fast approaching and with it comes the desire to spend more time out in the sun, either by enjoying the variety of outdoor activities available in the local area, or jumping in the car for a road trip to parts unknown. Whatever the choice, be smart and take the proper safety precautions.

Those coming in to Peterson’s main gate will notice the battered, broken husk of a grey-blue Mercury Mystique sitting in the median between incoming and outgoing lanes. Its story was very nearly a tragic one. Four teenagers were returning home from a camping trip and the driver lost control on a slight turn of a gravel road. The vehicle fishtailed off the edge of the road and tumbled approximately 40 feet down, landing on its nose then flipping upside down at the bottom of a ravine.

Luckily the young driver was a strong believer in seat belts and ensured everyone was wearing one prior to hitting the road. All four of them ended up dangling upside down in the crippled car, shaken and bruised but very much alive.

Their story hammers home the signs accompanying the display vehicle expressing the adage - Safety belts save lives.

According to a study done by the Colorado Department of Transportation, “an unbuckled passenger or driver increases the risk of serious injury or death to other occupants by 40 percent, furthermore the chances of dying in a crash go up by 25 percent when another person in the car is not wearing their seat belt.”

What most fail to consider is that an unsecured person continues moving during a crash. Inside the vehicle they become similar to a projectile capable of hurting or killing any other occupants.

An unsecured driver runs the risk of being thrown into the passenger seat during an attempt to avoid a collision, causing the very thing they had hoped to avoid.

CDOT’s straightforward message is – Whether behind the wheel or in the back seat, every occupant in a vehicle is vulnerable to the physical forces of a crash. So even if you buckle up every time, don’t be afraid to ask others to do the same.

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