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Safety Belts Save Lives & It's the Law.

By John M. Carpino

-Three out of four crashes happen within 25 miles of home, at speeds of 45 miles per hour or less.

-Two out of five car crash deaths occur at speeds 45 miles per hour or less and have been known to occur at speeds as low as 12 miles per hour.

-If you have a car equipped with air bags, you still have to buckle your seat belt. Air bags only work in frontal crashes. If your car is rear-ended, hit on the side or rolls over, the air bag can't protect you. But your seat belt will.

Air Bags and Seat Belts Save Lives

Help prevent deaths and serious injuries by following these lifesaving steps:

*Infants should NEVER, EVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag. They should ride in a rear-facing child safety seat that is correctly installed in a rear/back seat.

*Young children should ride in a back seat in a child safety seat or seat belt that is right for their age and size, and that is used correctly.

*For correct use information, follow your vehicle owner's manual and your child safety seat instructions. Some Law Enforcement agencies offer instruction concerning seat belts, air bags, and child safety seat use. Check with your local Law Enforcement agency if you need assistance or a source that deals with this important issue.

*When driving, be certain to sit as far back as practical-the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that there be 10 inches from your chest to the center of the steering wheel.

Three Types of Child Safety Seats:

Infant Safety Seats
for children birth to 20lbs. maximum. Must face rear of car. Never use an infant seat in the front seat if there is an active passenger side air bag.

Convertible Safety Seats
for children birth to 40lbs. Generally, babies should face the rear of the car until at least 20lbs. and one year of age. Following the safety seat instructions for the recommended weight and height, place the older child facing forward.

Booster Seats
are recommended for children who have outgrown their convertible safety seats but are not yet ready for the lap/shoulder belt combination. The lap/shoulder belt works best when a child has reached 60 to 80 lbs.

Quick Facts (ILLINOIS)

-1,456 persons died in crashes during 1999.
-An additional 57,534 persons were injured in crashes which occurred on state-maintained roadways .
-42.8 percent of all fatally injured drivers who were tested had a positive Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).
-45.1 percent of the fatally injured drivers 16-24 years of age who were tested had a positive BAC.

For further info. concerning related topics visit one of the following sites:

Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign National Safety Council
1025 Connecticut Ave., NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20036-5405

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (, the federal government's auto-safety watchdog, lists data on head, chest, and leg injuries from crash tests on vehicles going back to 1990.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( supplements NHTSA data with results of its independent offset crash tests.

SafetyCops say always wear your seat belt, properly secure children in their safety seats/belts, and never drink and drive. Check with local Law Enforcement agency to obtain info. as it pertains to state law and required ages for safety seat use vs lap/shoulder belts. Don't forget to investigate the law as it applies to you and your family when traveling outside of your home state. Its the law and its your responsibility. You owe it to your family.


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