MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — In the last few months, state troopers have seen an alarming trend in traffic accidents across Alabama.
More drivers are dying in these accidents as a result of not wearing a seat belt, despite it being a state law for decades.
“We’ve been investigating quite a few accidents where the individual has not been utilizing their seat,” Cpl. Jeremy Burkett said.
“For whatever reason, when people get close to their home, maybe they get comfortable. Or if they’re taking a short trip, say you’re going to visit a relative that lives close by. So, for whatever reason they don’t feel like they need to buckle up.”
Burkett said there’s a false belief that airbags will be enough to protect someone in a crash. But if your car flips and rolls over, only a seat belt can save you.
“You can be thrown from that vehicle, and if you’re ejected there’s a very slim chance, you’re going to survive that crash,” Burkett said.
While troopers don’t usually investigate if someone has disconnected the seat belt warning sound and lights, they have seen other disturbing seat belt safety hacks.
“We do notice that people will go cut ends off seat belts to plug into seat belts. And we have seen that,” Burkett said.
According to data from the Alabama Department of Transportation, 60% of people who die in traffic accidents in the state are not wearing their seat belt.