-Courtesy of Rancho Sante Fe Fire Protection District

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. — The importance of wearing seat belts when driving or riding in a vehicle has long been the focus of safety messages by emergency responders. They see first-hand just how devastating traffic accidents can be, especially when the occupants have chosen to not use their seat belts. Yet not everyone appears to be heeding the warnings. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one out of every five Americans does not use a seat belt on a regular basis. While seat belts appear to have saved over 15,000 lives in 2007, it is estimated that another 5,024 lives could have been saved if seat belts had been worn.

The problem is especially great among young people. Nearly 7,570 15- to 20-year-olds were killed in car accidents in 2007. 2,762 of those individuals were driving the vehicle and 58% were not wearing their seat belts. The communities of Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch have felt the impact of such a scenario twice within the last several months. Two teenagers have been killed while riding as unrestrained passengers in their friends’ vehicles.

“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of using your seat belt,” said Fire Chief Nick Pavone. “Seat belts should be worn correctly by every passenger every time you get in the car. They may be the primary source of protection from serious injury in the event of an accident.”

The mission of the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District is “To protect life, property, and environment through prevention, preparedness, education and emergency response.” Formed in 1946, the Fire District now spans approximately 42-square miles and protects over 29,000 citizens. The Fire District currently operates out of four full-time fire stations and serves the communities within and surrounding Rancho Santa Fe and 4S-Ranch.

Rancho Sante Fe Fire Protection District
PO Box 410 / 16936 El Fuego
Rancho Sante Fe, CA  92067-0410
(858) 756-6008
www.rsf-fire.org