Highway Patrol: No seat belts used in recent fatal wrecks

No seatbelts a theme in recent road deaths

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Six people have been killed on crashes along South Carolina highways this past weekend – none of whom were wearing seatbelts.

The Department of Public Safety released the statistics, noting that one fatality resulted from a motorcycle crash, where the use of a seatbelt is not applicable.

Two of the deaths happened in Kingstree, where a teenager and a 12-year-old boy were both killed in a single-vehicle crash.  All four occupants inside the vehicle were unrestrained.

"It's the easiest thing to do," Highway Patrol Sgt. Bob Beres says of using a seatbelt.  "It takes you two seconds, and there's a good chance it's going to save your life."

Highway Patrol uses three simulators which mimic a rollover crash at 12 to 15 miles per hour.  Passengers that are not buckled in are thrown from the display.

"You can become ejected out of the vehicle through any window," Sgt. Beres says.  "Also, there is a good chance that vehicle will roll on top of you.  I can tell you in almost 20 years, I've met one person who survived an ejection."

Drivers or passengers who do not use seatbelts can be ticketed by law enforcement.  The state's safety belt law is a primary enforcement, meaning officers have the authority to pull over a vehicle because of that violation alone.  Tickets of no more than $25 can be issued.

Sgt. Beres says he sees firsthand the life-saving capabilities of seatbelts.

"I've never yet, up until this point, unbuckled a dead person," he says.

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