Nearly 1,700 unbuckled people have died in wrecks in Virginia during the past five years.
But 600 — maybe 700 — could have lived. How?
By committing the simple act of fastening their seat belt — and following the law.
So many of us do belt nowadays — nearly 82 percent in our state, on average. But the message isn’t getting through to everyone, especially in rural Virginia, where in some communities up to three-fourths of traffic fatalities involved unbelted drivers or passengers.In this Roanoke Times/roanoke.com special report, we explore why the disparities exist. We also retrace failed efforts to strengthen Virginia’s seat belt law and look at new initiatives to educate young drivers.
You can control your destiny by wearing a seat belt. — Sgt. Mike Bailey, based in Bedford County for Virginia State Police and a member of the Blue Ridge Regional Crash Investigation Team.