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Letter: Living to see another day

Four women recently received "Saved by the Belt" awards from the Willmar Police Department for buckling up. They had been riding in a car that was totaled in a crash, yet they walked away with only minor injuries because they had been wearing seat belts.

As first responders, that's the kind of crash scene we want to arrive at -- one where the passengers are still buckled in their vehicles, instead of ejected into a ditch or oncoming traffic. Where no one's life is changed forever by a brain or spinal cord injury. Where no one loses a parent or a child, brother or sister, grandma or grandpa. Where everyone walks away and lives to see another day.

Think an accident will never happen to you? One out of every five drivers will be involved in a traffic crash this year and 75 percent of crash deaths and injuries happen within 25 miles of home. It takes just 30 mph of speed to send someone weighing 160 pounds through the windshield in a collision. You are 25 times more likely to be killed or sustain a life-changing injury if you are thrown from the vehicle.

Did you know that one in every seven drivers in Minnesota has a DWI on their record? To protect yourself, wear your seat belt and ask everyone driving with you to wear theirs.

October is the "Click It or Ticket" enforcement wave for the Willmar Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office. Officers look for motorists who aren't buckled up because the best way to change driver behavior is through enforcement.

There are four simple things you can do to reduce your risk of accident and injury. Wear your seat belt, drive sober, pay attention, and drive at a safe speed. Play the odds of staying alive -- wear your seat belt. The life you save might be your own.

Brad Hanson,

Willmar Ambulance Manager

Kandiyohi County Safe Community Coalition member