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Word Count: 623
BUCKLE UP AMERICA In New York during 1984 the year seatbelt laws were enacted approximately 16 of individuals wore seat belts 1012 people who were unrestrained died in motor vehicle accidents Just one year later compliance rates rose to 57 and unrestrained deaths dropped to 644 Since then compliance rates have steadily rose and senseless deaths decreased Most unrestrained fatalities fall within the 16 to 44 age group This is also the age group into which most parents fall A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that when drivers do buckle up 87 of children riding with them are also restrained However when drivers are unbuckled only 24 of children riding with them are restrained It is the responsibility of parents and other adults to take responsibility for their young passengers When worn properly seat belts will absorb the force of a crash impact and hold you securely in place reducing your risk of injury and death An air bag protects a front seat passenger in a head on crash by inflating upon impact and cushioning the occupant from colliding with the steering wheel dashboard or windshield Air bags are meant to work with seat belts not replace them According to the National Transportation Safety Board the combination of seat belts and air bags offers maximum protection for motorists and decreases the chance of death by as much as 40 For these reasons I believe all states should incorporate mandatory seat belt and air bag laws with stiff penalties for non-compliance All to frequently individuals fail to use seat belts because of wide spread misconceptions surrounding inconvenience In a survey when Americans were asked Why not wear a seat belt one of the responses included Im only going to the shopping center In fact a short ride to the shopping center or to your local market is the best time to wear a seat belt
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