If you drive west on Interstate 85 from Charlotte, in less than an hour you’ll come to the modest suburb of Kings Mountain. The town of 10,000 is today mourning the loss of two of its residents: a 35-year-old mother and her 10-year-old daughter.
This past Saturday evening, the two were killed in a crash on N.C. 216 when a car failed to yield and slammed into the Honda Pilot the mother was driving. The Honda rolled, ejecting all five of if occupants, law enforcement officials said.
None of the five was wearing seatbelts, according to police. The other three occupants were hospitalized with unspecified injuries and were listed in stable condition.
A North Carolina state trooper investigating the deadly crash said of the mother and her little girl, “I think if they would’ve stayed in the confines of the car, their chances of surviving probably would’ve been greater than unfortunately what they had.”
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says 36 percent of those children from ages 8 to 14 who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016 were not wearing seatbelts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that seat belts reduce the risk of injury by half. The risk of death is reduced by 45 percent, the CDC says.
One of the main safety features of the belts: they prevent vehicle occupants from being ejected in crashes. Those who don’t wear seat belts are 30 times more likely to be ejected, and three out of four people who are ejected in fatal crashes die from the injuries they sustain.
Seat belts don’t reduce the risks of accidents, but they do significantly improve your chances in a crash, so please buckle up.