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January 08, 2009 3:23 am

You've heard it before: seat belts save lives

Written by Tribune Staff

Over the last year, it was all too common to read a release from the Wyoming Highway Patrol that another person had been killed in a car wreck on one of the state's roads.

The wrecks occurred in every corner of the state, and for many reasons — alcohol, excessive speed, weather, cell phones, you name it. But there was a common thread that connected many of the fatalities: “The victim, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected and died at the scene.”

Cody Beers, spokesman for the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said the lack of seat belt use among Wyoming drivers is “extremely frustrating.”

According to Beers, through the end of November 2008, there were 144 traffic fatalities on Wyoming's roads — 53.5 percent of the victims were unrestrained. Of the dead, 74 percent were Wyoming residents.

Additionally, 41.7 percent of the deaths were in single car rollovers — 87 percent of those victims were not properly restrained.

These are sobering statistics that are hard to comprehend. Not only is it against state law to drive or ride in a vehicle without being buckled up, it's just plain stupid.

The quick moment it takes to click the seat belt could save your life — the proof is in the numbers.

If you don't already buckle your seat belt — every single time you get in a car — make a resolution to start doing it now. This should be the one New Year's resolution that sticks.