Florida Highway Patrol sees an increase in no seatbelt related accidents

Bay County

BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — Buckle up when you get into a car not only because it’s the law, but it can also save your life. 

Florida Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer, Lieutenant Jason King, said a commonality between recent fatal car crashes in our area is the lack of seatbelt use. 

“As we investigate the crash it’s like for some reason a lot of our fatals have the attachment of lack of use of seatbelts,” King said.

It just takes one second to strap in your seatbelt, but it’s that decision that could be the difference between life and death. 

Lt. King said he’s noticed an increase in no seatbelt-related accidents. 

He said from January 1 to April 7, 2020, there were 17 total crashes in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Jackson, Holmes, and Washington counties. Three were fatalities where the passengers were not wearing seatbelts.

This year, there have been a total of 57 car accidents – five of those deaths were people who weren’t wearing seatbelts.

“The crash on 388 where we lost four people, tragically it was tough for us to even work and be there, but it appears that there was a lack of use of seatbelts by those four individuals,” King said. “I believe the fatal that was up on 69 with the young 17-year-old student… lack of seatbelt.”

Lt. King said no matter if you are the driver or sitting in the back seat, buckling your seatbelt should be the first thing you do. It can save you from being ejected from the car, bumping into others, and much more. 

“It’s something we are looking for and we will be enforcing it,” King said.

The Florida Highway Patrol said they can cite any driver or passenger for not wearing a seatbelt. So far this year lt king said they’ve given out 124 citations.

He said they aren’t trying to ruin your day but rather to keep you safe.

“We are just wanting to encourage people to wear your seatbelts, put your distraction down the device whatever it is, pay attention to the road, and save your life and others’ lives,” King said. 

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