DMV: Over 200 people not wearing seat belt died in crashes across VA

Updated: Oct. 18, 2017 at 11:44 AM EDT
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(WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says Virginia's seat belt rate has reached a record high of 85.3 percent.

However, as 236 people not wearing a seat belt died in crashes this year across the state, law enforcement officials are continuing "their efforts toward 100 percent compliance."

"Virginia's seat belt use rate has averaged around 79 percent, so anytime we see that number go up, it's a great thing," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "But, as long as Virginians continue to lose their lives because they aren't wearing their seat belt, our work is not yet complete."

In recent years, more than half of the people who died in crashes across the state in vehicles equipped with seat belts were not using them.

  • 2016: 304 unrestrained drivers or passengers were killed.
  • 2015: 310 unrestrained drivers or passengers were killed.
  • 2014: 256 unrestrained drivers or passengers were killed.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those who wear a seat belt are 45 percent less likely to die in a crash. Other statistics showed that 80 percent of people ejected in a crash die, and 30 percent of unbelted motorists are ejected during a crash.

NHTSA studies show that drivers and front-seat passengers are five times more likely to die in a crash if the rear passengers are not wearing seat belts, and this is particularly the case in head-on collisions.

According to NHTSA, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury for infants by 71 percent in passenger cars. For toddlers, the risk is reduced by 54 percent.

"There are two simple things you can do to help Virginia reach a new record high seat belt use rate next year: Always buckle up and make sure everyone in your vehicle is properly secured," Commissioner Holcomb said. "It only takes a second, and it very well may save your life or the life of someone you love."

Here is a list of the number of people who died without wearing seat belts in Central Virginia:

  • Chesterfield: 9
  • Dinwiddie: 7
  • Goochland: 3
  • Hanover: 4
  • Henrico: 4
  • King William: 1
  • Louisa: 2
  • Powhatan: 1
  • Prince George: 1
  • Richmond: 5

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