Columbus among worst for seat belt usage

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Columbus County has once again been designated among the 15 worst counties in the state for seat belt usage.

The Department of Transportation said in a press release today that researchers will be working hard in October to determine why drivers and passengers aren’t buckling up. October is the deadliest month in the state for auto crashes, according to DOT. Roadside surveys will be conducted in 120 randomly selected areas, said Mark Ezzell of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP). 

The state said that current data indicates women are more likely to buckle up than men, and people between 45 and 65 are most likely to use seatbelts.

Crash data shows that one percent of fatal crash victims were ejected, while 84 percent of ejection victims died. Men are far more likely to be unrestrained in crashes overall, the report said. 

The 15 worst counties for seatbelt usage statewide are Mecklenburg, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Columbus, Alamance, Buncombe, Catawba, Cleveland, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Nash, Wake and Wilkes.

The most dangerous demographic continues to be occupants 16 to 24 years of age.

Seat belt use rate results are used to qualify for federal seat belt incentive grants, the DOT said. Those federal funds are used for initiatives that support the elimination of preventable roadway deaths across North Carolina.

The state is asking foir stories about how seatblets save lives, for use in its promotional program. If the seat belt has saved your life post your story on social media with a picture and tag @NCGHSP on Facebook or @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram for recognition.

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Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and the News Director for WTXY AM1540 & Kool 103.9FM Radio. He can be reached at (910) 632-4965, or by email at