The tragic victim this past weekend was Hannah Marie Long, of Vinton, and the accident that claimed her life happened early Sunday morning in Boones Mill. Last weekend, it was Lewis Allen Dickenson, who died in a Bedford County crash. Like Long, he was a 15-year-old student at Liberty High School.
Back in May, the deceased were Jarrett Chance Taylor, 26; his father, Randy C. Taylor, 60, both of Rocky Mount; and Donald D. Conner, 52, of Floyd. The three men were among five people involved in a four-vehicle accident on U.S. 220 in Boones Mill.
Besides their traffic-related deaths, another thing the people named above had in common is none of them was wearing a seat belt.
There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered about the circumstances leading up to the fatal wrecks that killed Long and Dickenson. But now isn’t the time to ask those in a newspaper column.
Too many facts are still unknown. Raising them won’t bring back the victims and it would hurt the surviving family members, who are already hurting enough. Give them some time to grieve, for Pete’s sake.
But the question of seat belt use is not one of those. Hundreds of millions of people in this country slide into a driver or passenger seat every day. And the statistics on seat belts and survivability in car crashes are quite clear.
The odds you will survive a traffic accident are much better if you’re wearing a seat belt. Consider these facts furnished to me Monday by Kristin Nevels, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:
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