Drive Time -- Safety Tips for VT Drivers
Information, tips and reminders from those who work to keep Vermont drivers safe –
VT State Police, VT Department of Motor Vehicles, VT Agency of Transportation, VT Sheriffs Association. and the AARP Driver Safety Program.
Good News and Some Good Advice: Buckle up, Vermont!
Good news! There have been fewer fatalities (40) on the roads of Vermont by mid-November this year than there were at this time last year (57) and the year before that (70). But tragically, we’ve been catching up lately, and many of those killed were not wearing safety belts. Could they have been saved, had they only taken a minute to buckle up? We will never know. But we do know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are the single most effective safety device for preventing death and injury on the road, and can reduce the risk of death or injuries by nearly 50 percent in cars, and more in larger vehicles.
Vermont law requires ALL occupants of a motor vehicle to be restrained with a safety belt or federally approved child restraint system. Yet while 2013 usage increased slightly in Vermont, from 84.2% to 84.9%, compliance was still 2% below the national average and even our own state record of 87.3% in 2008. We can do better. And we should!
Safety belts hold us in a safe, comfortable position for better control of the vehicle and optimal airbag protection. They are most effective when the belt fits snugly across the hips, not over the stomach, then across the center of the chest and over the shoulder, away from the neck - NEVER under your arm or behind your back. And many vehicles have adjustments for a more comfortable fit. Wearing your belt is easy and safer, so why not do it?
Sadly, it’s too late for too many of us, but the 15% out there still have a chance. From now on, buckle up every time, because it’s the law and it’s just plain common sense. Come on, do it for your family.