Buckle up and improve your odds

Tragedy struck on a Seneca County roadway Monday afternoon. Three cars and three drivers were involved. Sadly, despite the efforts of paramedics, a Life Flight crew and trauma center staff, one person died.

One car was sideswiped, went off the side of the road and rolled over. Its driver wore a seat belt. He was treated at the scene and did not go to a hospital.

Two cars collided head-on. The driver of one car, who had used a seat belt, is in a medical center in Toledo. The other driver, who was not buckled up at the time of the crash, later died at the same facility.

Nationwide, auto accidents are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Seat belt use does not guarantee an occupant in a motor vehicle will survive a collision, but buckling up dramatically reduces risk of death and serious injury. The NHTSA notes that among drivers and front-seat passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45 percent and cut the risk of serious injury by half.

The administration also has found people who don’t wear a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be thrown from a vehicle during a crash. More than three out of four people who are ejected during a crash die from their injuries.

Again, a seat belt does not offer certain protection from being killed during a serious crash. But it can improve the odds of surviving by 50 percent. That’s something to consider if you are among the 1 in 7 people who doesn’t buckle up.