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Why is it important to wear your seatbelt while driving?

A lot of people who read this week's post title may laugh at the question we pose because it seems like a no-brainer. Seat belts save lives. That's the motto we hear all the time on national ads.

But what if we told you that more than 50 percent of people, age 13 to 20, who died in motor vehicle accidents in 2012 weren't wearing their seat belts? Would you still think this week's question was really all that silly?

To begin answering the question we pose in our post title, we want our Sacramento readers to consider for a moment all of the elements of a serious motor vehicle accident. Whether it's a rear-end collision or a rollover crash, there are a lot of forces exerted on the vehicle and therefore the passengers inside. Seat belts prevent passengers from moving about the cabin freely, thereby reducing their chances of striking hard surfaces within the vehicle or being ejected from it entirely.

Did you know that in 2012, injuries suffered in non-fatal crashes result in more than $50 billion in lost work and medical costs? For some, this may not be that difficult to believe, especially when you consider the catastrophic injuries a person can suffer because of striking things within the vehicle or because they were thrown from the vehicle.

The Centers for Disease Control puts it best by saying that "motor vehicle crashes are a major public health problem" -- a point we're sure few readers will dispute. More to the point though, this statement can be exacerbated by the fact that millions of adults continue to put their lives in danger by not wearing their seat belts -- a fact more of our readers probably wish wasn't true. This results in a number of deaths each year that can be avoided by wearing seat belts properly and always.

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