From: Dave Brand
Winona County Sheriff and partner in the Winona County Safe Communities Project
As January 1st approaches, people everywhere will make New Year's resolutions. They will vow to quit smoking, lose twenty pounds, begin an exercise program, or save their money, to name a few. With great jest and newness, the goals set on the first of each year are like a breath of fresh air. People who make these New Year's resolutions do so with every intention of making this the year they will become a nonsmoker, twenty pounds lighter, a 10k runner, or put an extra two thousand dollars away for an individual retirement account. The Winona County Safe Communities project asks you to consider adding one very simple resolution to your New Year's Day vows: The vow to always wear your seat belt.
Why wear your seat belt?
" Wearing your seat belt and having children restrained in properly fitted car seats is your number one defense against a drunk or impaired driver.
" Of the 544 motor vehicle occupants killed in Minnesota in 2002, only 206 (38 percent) were belted. Over half of those who were not belted were partially or fully ejected from the vehicle, and died as a result.
" Of those severely injured in a motor vehicle crash, only 1,102 (46 percent) were reported to have used their seat belts. Lower seat belt use directly correlates to more serious injury levels.
We know that buckling your seat belt every single time you get into a motor vehicle doesn't sound as exciting as wearing a smaller size of jeans or never having to hide your cigarette breath from your boyfriend, spouse, or children. We're not asking you to buckle up instead of doing something else that will either make you feel better or save your life. We're asking you to buckle up in addition to these other things because it is the easiest thing you can do for yourself and your family in 2004. Seat belts save lives. Please buckle up, always!