A seatbelt could save your life:
Make it a habit

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

Jerry McDermott, 435th Air Base Wing safety chief, has been making the rounds, telling everyone around to wear their seat belts.
In formal presentations, in personal pleas, his goal is to make pulling that strap on each time you get in a car, a habit.

up, it’s the law.

Your U.S. Forces certificate of license is at risk if you don’t
wear your seat belt.
– First offense: Mandatory suspension of driving privilege for seven
days for failing to wear a seat belt or failing to require passengers
to wear seat belts or restraining devices while riding in a privately
owned vehicle.
– Second offense: Mandatory 30-day suspension and letter of counseling.
– Third offense: Mandatory 180-day suspension of driving privilege.
For a complete list of driving rules go to: http://rmv.hq

News of recent vehicle accidents in USAFE has hit hard: two deaths and one Airman left in a coma. In all cases, those injured or killed were not wearing their seat belts. During a recent Safety Day briefing, McDermott reported that in the 101 critical days of summer, 29 Air Force personnel died in traffic accidents.

“We’ve lost more Air Force people in traffic accidents in the 101 days of summer than in the war,” Mr. McDermott said.

Whether you’re on or off base, or on or off duty, all KMC personnel are expected to wear seat belts when driving, said Col. Kurt Lohide, 435th Air Base Wing commander.

“Personnel need to appreciate that the senior KMC leadership, to include Col. Kane, Col. Weathers and myself, take seat belt usage very seriously,” said Col. Lohide. “It’s an undeniable fact that seat belts save lives and we will not tolerate those who drive without using their seat belts. You are too important to our Air Force and our country to take this risk.”
The seat belt concept is easy, Mr. McDermott said.

“It keeps you from flying through the windshield,” he said. For a man who makes a living assessing risk, he’s betting on the numbers. Seat belts save 15,700 lives a year in the United States each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Officials estimate that 7,000 fatalities could have been avoided by wearing the seat belt.

Over the decades, the seat belt has proven it to be the little belt that could. Since they were first invented in the 1850s, the seat belt has come a long way. The first American got a patent for an automobile seat belt in 1885. By the 1950s automobiles came equipped with the lap belts and in the 1980s, states began mandating the use of seat belts. The European Union made compulsory seat belt use law in 1991.

Seat belts reduce risk of death for front-seat car occupants by 50 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And still there are people who pull away from their driveways each day without putting on the belts, Mr. McDermott said.

Mr. McDermott has heard all the excuses. “Seat belts are constraining,” is one of the regular ones.

“If you don’t have the seat belt on, you can get out of the car quicker,” he said. “You’ll go out the window in two seconds and 200 or 300 yards down the road.”