Alabama State Troopers are urging drivers to buckle up over the long four-day Fourth of July holiday.
The plea comes on the heels of a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing a drop in seat belt usage going from 85 percent to 84 percent. James Gilliland of McDonald's Chapel has sons who drive and he makes sure they all use seatbelts.
"I make sure my kids are buckled up before we start the car. I don't want to pick up my son off the pavement if we hit somebody and they are ejected from the car," Gilliland said.
A lot of people are expected to be on the highways over the holiday. State trooper Captain Curtis Summerville said teenagers are the most likely not to use seatbelts and that could be costly.
"I would venture to say probably 70 percent of the fatal crashes I personally investigated, 70 percent of those folks would have walked away from their crashes if they had taken a couple of seconds to buckle up their seat belts," Summerville said.
Summerville said the reason may vary from feeling constrained to concerns over wrinkling their clothes. Other drivers believe there is no excuse.
"I can't understand why it would drop. The only thing I can think of if they are little bit lazy," Shirin Posner said.
You don't have to tell Harold Peavey about the importance of seatbelts.
"I had a severe accident several years ago. The car flipped, rolled. If I had not been wearing a seat belt I wouldn't be here today," Peavey said.
Summerville is urging drivers to buckle up to stay safe. He also says having to tell a family their loved one is dead is the hardest part of his job.
"This is the worst part of my job having to make a death notification. I made several death notifications over the years. A lot over July Fourth period. We want to encourage people to buckle up their seat belts," Summerville said.
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