The following editorial is republished from the April 2 Sun Herald, Biloxi, Mississippi. Staff-written editorials will resume next week.
It pains us to keep having this discussion but once again we need to talk.
About seat belts.
And why so many of us aren't wearing them.
There is some good news. We are doing better. More than 80 percent of us regularly use seat belts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It's the other 17 percent or so that bother us.
And it's our young people who are most likely to be killed.
The national rate for motor-vehicle deaths among people 21 to 34 years old is 10.8 per 100,000 population. In Mississippi, the rate for that age group is 24.6 per 100,000.
There is no excuse. It's a matter of personal responsibility. You are responsible for your children. It is your duty as a parent to teach them how to navigate life as safely as possible.
Teach them to buckle up whenever they get in a car.
Make it fun. Make it an adventure.
Make it a habit.
Most of us have been reaching for those seat belts for years. It's as natural as putting the key in the ignition. It's that easy.
Now, to the adults who refuse to take this most basic of safety steps, shame on you for setting such a poor example for children. You're putting your life at risk every time you fail to buckle up.
If you don't buckle up, you are more likely to suffer a serious injury.
And no, you aren't likely to drown in a submerged vehicle if you buckle up.
You are more likely to be ejected from the vehicle and be dead before it ever reaches the water if you don't.
It's time to end these senseless deaths.
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