Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Montana woman mourns loss, wants to remind rural residents to use their seat belts

This video, www.youtube.com/banikMDT, tells a very sad story about one night's bad choices causing life time pain and struggle. It is a PSA the Montana Department of Transportation just released and it is very powerful.

Drunk driving is one of the many acts of violence we have to deal with here in Montana. Having a loved one not wear a seat belt, then die, is another. Five years ago this August, I lost someone very close to me on a stretch of Montana Highway 2. He was 15 miles from the ranch coming off of a dirt road onto the highway. It was late and we don't have lights out there. He skipped the highway and did a nose dive into a 5-foot irrigation ditch. He would have walked away without a scratch but wasn't wearing his seat belt and crushed his chest on the center console. He was 27 when he died.

Lack of seat belt use isn't discussed enough out on the prairie. We all just hop in our trucks and speed off down a dirt road or empty stretch of highway. I want there to be an open forum for discussion over the seat-belt use in rural communities. Did you know that in the last five years, 1,063 drivers and passengers died in vehicle crashes on Montana roads? More than 70 percent – 751 people – were not wearing their seat belts. Single vehicle, run-off-the road crashes cause over 60 percent of the fatalities in Montana — most due to ejection from the vehicle, according to MDOT.

The more people who see the video, the better chance that someone's son or daughter will chose to buckle and it will save their life.

Jennifer Lehman, Great Falls, Mont.

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