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Unbelted fatalities in young adults doubles in Virginia

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Posted at 3:03 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-25 17:47:12-04

Graphic provided by the Virginia State Police.

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia State Police released data recently showing the doubling in deaths for young people who are not buckling up on the roads.

According to the data provided to News 3, unbelted fatalities have doubled from January 1 to June 30 for those who are between the ages of 15 to 20.

The data collected from 2018 was compared to that collected in the same time frame in 2017. 18 fatalities have been recorded in 2018 compared to nine in 2017 and ten in 2016.

“We must find a way to reverse this startling trend,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Safety is our highest priority. Simply by wearing a seat belt, you can reduce the risk of dying in a vehicle crash by 45 percent.”

Virginia also recorded a 34 percent increase in the number of people age 21 to 35 who died not wearing seat belts in crashes. From January to June 2017, 41 unrestrained fatalities were recorded; in 2018, 55 were recorded during the same time frame.

While the Commonwealth does not have a primary seat belt law, Virginia law does require all drivers and front seat passengers to wear safety belts. All passengers under age 18 must be restrained in a seat belt or child safety seat. Drivers may be held responsible for paying fines and related court costs if their passengers are not buckled in.

No unbelted fatalities for those between 15 to 20-years-old have been recorded for Hampton Roads in 2018.