Troopers say fatalities rising as more ignore seat belts - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Troopers say fatalities rising as more ignore seat belts

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22 people killed in AL crashes last month were in cars where seat belts were available but not used. (Source: MGN Online) 22 people killed in AL crashes last month were in cars where seat belts were available but not used. (Source: MGN Online)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Fatal crashes are on the rise in Alabama,according to state troopers. What's more concerning is the number of victimsnot wearing seat belts.

During the first two months of 2014, 86people were killed in car crashes statewide. Compare that to the same timeframein 2013, when 70 were killed in car crashes in Alabama.

The winter weather this year created somedangerous driving conditions, and then there is the increasing problem ofpeople not buckling up.

"I think people have gotten a little bitcomplacent in terms of seat belt usage," said Trooper Curtis Summerville. "Somefolks are in a hurry. They are shopping, they are moving, they are going here,they are going there. They don't take time to buckle up that seat belt."

Of the 43 people killed in car crashes inAlabama in February, 36 were in vehicles where seat belts were available, but22 of those victims were not buckled up.

This week, a 24-year-old Boaz woman waskilled in a crash on Sand Valley Road near Attalla. The driver of that vehicle,25-year-old Brandon Roach, who was also injured in the crash, is chargedwith her murder. Troopers said neither was wearing their seat belt.

A 5-year-oldboy was also killed this week in a separate crash on Alabama 69 in MarshallCounty. Troopers said the child was ejected from the SUV he was a passenger inwhen it left the road and struck a guardrail.

"At speeds as low as 30 miles per hour, aperson can be killed in a crash without a seat belt on. That is the equivalentof jumping out of a three-story building," said Summerville.

Troopers said teens are most at fault for notbuckling up, but people of all ages are guilty of doing the same. They remindpeople that it's not just a law – it can save your life.

"I've seen a lot of crashes," saidSummerville. "In my opinion, 70 percent of the crashes that I have personallyinvestigated, those folks would have walked away if they had just had a seat belton.

Besides enforcing the seat belt law, statetroopers said one of the biggest things they are doing to increase seat beltuse is talking to high school students.

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