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Reminder: Buckle up to stay safe this winter

In 2011, about 65 percent of motorists and passengers killed in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing their seat belts. Buckling up is a simple step that saves lives but some motorists continue to ignore Ohio's seat belt laws.

In response, Ohio troopers have stepped up their enforcement efforts to encourage drivers to wear seat belts at all time. In the first three months of 2012, law enforcement officers issued 19 percent more seat belt citations than they did during the same period in 2011. And increased enforcement appears to work. During the same time, unbelted traffic fatalities fell by 16 percent.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective thing motorists and passengers can do to protect themselves in the event of a crash. Safety belts save over 13,000 lives every year in the United States.

Failing to wear a seat belt is a secondary traffic violation in Ohio, which means that troopers cannot pull over a driver just because they aren't buckled up. However, law enforcement officials show zero tolerance when they conduct a traffic stop for another reason and the driver is not buckled up.

Of course, even the safest driving habits may not be able to prevent a serious accident caused by another driver's negligence or unsafe road conditions. If you or someone you care about have been injured in such an accident, consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you review the facts of your case and pursue any appropriate legal claims.

Source: The Vinton County Courier, "Patrol reminds motorists that seat belts save lives," Nov. 17, 2012

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