GA Senate approves truck seatbelts again -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GA Senate approves truck seatbelts again

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Georgia is one step closer to requiring pickup truck drivers to wear seatbelts.  Georgia's the only state that doesn't require adults in pickups to buckle up, and that costs the state $20 million in lost federal funding.

You're two times more likely to get in a crash here in southwest Georgia, than in metro Atlanta, and by not requiring you to buckle up in a pickup it's costing you and everyone else in Georgia about $960. 

Just look around as you drive, it's tough not to spot a pickup truck, downtown or in some of Albany's heaviest traffic areas. Reaction is still mixed among drivers whether adults in pickups should buckle up.

"On the road I believe it's a good idea to buckle up especially if you're going to drive, 30, 40 , 50 minutes," said Willie James Barnes.

"My right, I don't want to," said Joel Forrester. "I've had one brother killed in an automobile accident, he wasn't wearing a seat belt. I had another bother who was in an automobile accident. Fortunately, he was thrown out and it saved his life.

By the numbers, the answer seems simple. 275 people were killed in pickup trucks in 2007. 74 percent of them weren't wearing seat belts. Georgia also pays 7.9 billion dollars in medical costs for those injured.

"The estimate is about $960 for every Georgian is the cost annually for medical care for pick up diver who have been injured in traffic crashes," said Albany Safe Communities Coordinator Michele Strickland.

If the seat belt law is passed, the state estimates it will save 30 lives and prevent 500 injuries a year.

"That also translates into more than $100 million in saved medical costs that often times are passed on to the tax payer in indigent care," Strickland said.

Some say it's simply a safety issue, but that's not enough to convince everyone.

"I think everyone should buckle up just for their safety, especially children," said Brooke Plowman.

Kevin Croft does not typically wear his seat belt.  Why not? "Because I don't have that good habit."

Depending on what the legislature does, it may no longer be a choice. 

We should point out the current legislation still exempts farmers from wearing their seat belt in their pick ups, while their working and driving in their fields.

An estimated 613 lives were saved by seat belts in Georgia in 2007.


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