Despite less traffic, Virginia sees uptick in unbelted-related deaths during pandemic

Despite less traffic, Virginia sees uptick in unbelted-related deaths during pandemic
Seatbelt (Source: Pixabay)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Despite less traffic on the roads due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia has seen an uptick in unbelted-related crash deaths.

“We have all observed some drivers practicing unsafe behaviors with less vehicles on the roadways, but the most disturbing trend is that more people are dying because they are not making the simple decision to click their seat belts,” said Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.

Compared to last year and 2020 between Jan. 1 through June 30, unrestrained fatalities increased by nearly 16 percent with 161 people dying in unbelted crashes during that time this year.

Last year, 52 percent of the state’s highway deaths were not wearing seatbelts. Of the 304 unbelted deaths, 187 of the people were either totally or partially ejected from the vehicle.

“We are urging everyone, particularly young men, to always wear your seat belt, even on short trips close to home. And if you are the parent, friend or loved one of a young male, remind him how buckling up truly saves lives, and how devastating it would be to lose him,” Holcomb added.

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