WAKE FOREST – Seat belts save lives.
Just ask Wake County District Court Judge Rashad Ahmed Hauter, who was driving near his Wake Forest home recently.
“On a sunny day in July, only a half a mile from home, a car hits me from behind,” Hauter explained to staff with the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “You think the closer you are to your home, the safer you are. (That’s) not always the case. No matter how minor the collision or impact, serious injuries can and do occur if you are not wearing a seat belt. I was fortunate I had mine on.”
Hauter’s vehicle was damaged, but he says if he had not been wearing a seat belt he probably would not have walked away from the crash with only minor injuries.
As travel increases during the summer, buckling up can be one of the simplest ways to reduce the risk of serious injury or death in car crashes, said officials with the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
In 2019, 45.4 percent of North Carolina’s fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers and occupants were unrestrained, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Many local law enforcement officers see firsthand what happens when people don’t wear seat belts.
“Everyone (should) always wear their seatbelt, even for short distances,” says Wake Forest Police Chief Jeff Leonard. “Wear your seatbelts not only for yourself but for your family.”
Hauter, too, encourages others to wear their seat belts.
That’s a good thing, said Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
“Whether you are on your way to work, home or vacation, traveling to the beaches or the mountains, buckling up before embarking on your journey is important,” said Ezzell, who recently honored Hauter with the program’s “Saved by the Belt” certificate for sharing his story with others. “Buckling up will improve overall traffic safety and reduce fatal crashes.”
Share your “Saved by the Belt” stories to raise awareness and follow us @NCGHSP on Facebook and @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram. For more information, visit www.ncghsp.org