For all of you reading this right now, this letter probably isn’t for you. I’m writing to encourage everyone to wear their seat belt, but most of us already do that. (Thank you!) As a traffic safety professional, I read the data. Nearly 94 percent of us in Washington buckle up, and in Chelan County we’re doing even better, at 97 percent. But in 2021, 36 percent of vehicle occupants who died in crashes in Washington were unrestrained. That’s not just data; it’s people in our community.

The odds are good that you’re one of the 94 percent that wear your seat belt, so this reminder isn’t for you. But it might be for someone you know. People who don’t wear their seat belt tend to also engage in driving behaviors that increase their risk of a crash, making their seat belt even more important. That one simple habit could save the life of someone you love. No one plans to need their seat belt when they get in the car, and that’s just it; you might only need your seat belt for five seconds in your entire life, but you never know which five seconds it’s going to be. If you always put it on, it’ll be there for you when you need it.

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