Healthy Living: Seatbelts 

Seatbelts Save LivesBy- Dr. Joan Marie PellegriniIn 2007, I went to Augusta along with many others to support a bill to make failure to wear a seatbelt a primary offense. Why did I do this? Because, seatbelts save lives. It’s that simple. See, I am in the life-saving business. I am a trauma surgeon. If everyone wore seatbelts, didn’t drink and drive, and paid attention while driving, I wouldn’t have much work to do!According to an article in the Portland Press Herald on March 16, Maine has an 83% compliance rate with wearing seatbelts. That means tonight, I am pleading with 17% of you to listen up. The other 83% can also chime in and ask their friends and family to buckle-up.If you have been paying attention to this issue, then you’ve heard the numbers and statistics. For 17% of you, all the public service announcements and data thrown at you clearly have not impressed you. I would like to tell you a personal story. Last week I took my three teenage daughters out of school for a special treat. We went skiing at Sugarloaf. One of my daughters was driving us home. We got caught in a little Spring snow squall that left a few inches of slush on the road. Our truck lost traction. Driver inexperience and poor road conditions led to us being involved in a roll-over crash. I’ve never been in a crash and this was a doozy! However, we were all belted. I remember thinking to myself as the truck was rolling how impressed I was that the seatbelts were recoiling and locking me into my seat. Even as the car stopped and I was hanging upside down, I was still firmly in my seat. Many people stopped to help us. The first responders were very scared about what they may find in this crumpled, upside down vehicle. Imaging their relief when all they found was four shaken but unharmed occupants. Imagine what goes through a mother’s mind as the car she is in with all of her children is spinning and rolling over. I knew my children were belted. Although two of them were asleep, I knew they would never undo their belts. I am immensely grateful they understand how important seatbelts are. I am immensely grateful that we live in a country that values safety in automobile design. I beg you not to disregard the excellent engineering that is in your vehicle by failing to utilize it fully. Buckle Up. Every time. Everyone.