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Virginia teens failing to wear seat belts is costing lives

Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a vehicle crash by 45%, according to the...
Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a vehicle crash by 45%, according to the state's secretary of transportation.(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 30, 2018 at 5:56 PM EDT
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Failing to "click it" is leading to more than a ticket for teenagers in Virginia.

Through the end of June 2018 in Virginia, the number of teenagers who have died because they failed to put on their seat belts has doubled compared to the same time frame in 2017.

Eighteen people from the ages of 15 to 20 have died from not wearing a seat belt during a car crash in the first six months of 2018, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Ariel Rodriguez, the Harrisonburg Fire Department's car seat technician, said it is a learned behavior for young passengers and drivers.

"If friends don't buckle up or if parents or other family members don't buckle up, it's just something that they've learned not to do," Rodriguez said. "A lot of times, too, if people are piling up in one car to go somewhere and there aren't enough spaces, they don't bother to buckle up."

In all of 2017, 52 percent of the deaths from car crashes were because people did not put on their seat belt, according to the DMV.