For many Midlanders, Memorial Day weekend is a time for travel. It also should be a time to remember to buckle up.
Unfortunately, not all drivers and passengers choose to use that common-sense safeguard. That decision can carry horrendous consequences.
Last year, seven in 10 people killed in road accidents in Nebraska were unbuckled, Fred Zwonechek, Nebraska’s highway safety administrator, told World-Herald staff writer Julie Anderson.
So far this year the rate is closer to 8 in 10, Anderson reports.
At the start of this week, the total of Nebraska traffic fatalities, at 84, was up 17 percent over the same time last year and 31 percent over the average for the past four years, Anderson explains.
AAA estimates that the number of Americans doing holiday travel this Memorial Day weekend will be up nearly 5 percent nationwide compared to a year ago. That’s a total of around 35 million people hitting the road.
It’s appropriate, then, that law enforcement in Nebraska — 30 sheriff’s offices, 19 police departments and the Nebraska State Patrol — are participating in the annual Click It or Ticket campaign nationwide. Officers will issue citations for failure to buckle up or provide child safety seats to children.
The message is clear: Seat belts are there for a reason. Responsible adults need to use them.