Guest Opinion


It happens way too often…unintentional injury or death! I am not speaking of accidents; which in the Webster Dictionary are defined as an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured.

Drivers need to start making the choice to buckle up. 43% of all unintentional deaths in Montana are due to motor vehicle crashes. 72% of fatal crashes in rural areas involved only one vehicle. 81% of those killed in a pick-up crash were not wearing a seatbelt. High school students are less likely to wear seat belts than adults in Montana. 56% of Montana high school students reported never or rarely using a seat belt while driving and only 41% reported never or rarely using a seat belt as a passenger. 71% of adults report wearing their seatbelt.

If the statistics don’t convince you to buckle-up how about the finances. According to Montana DOT: On average, an unbelted occupant has a longer hospital stay, required more intensive care and accrued significantly higher hospital charges ($52,993 for average unbuckled occupant - $36,420 for average buckled occupant). According to Montana Emergency Care: Those injured pay for only 26% of the total healthcare cost, the remainder is paid by society. Montana spends $14 million dollars in Medicaid and uncompensated care for unrestrained motor vehicle occupant inpatient hospital charges. After medical expenses there is an additional $5000 to $10,000 plus in expenses for funerals.

Again, if the statistics and cost don’t convince you to buckle up, how about the people you have an effect on each and every day? What effect would a traumatic injury or death have on them? Will your children really be OK if you can’t take care of them? Will your spouse really be OK without your support and love; and able to handle the additional burden? Will your parents really be OK not going to your activities? Will your friends be OK without your support and friendship? Will your employer be OK without your dedication and able to find another employee? Will they be OK? Yes, but really OK? You make the choice.…do you want to leave these lasting effects with the people you touch each and every day?



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