Car Crashes Don’t Come with ‘Do-Overs’ for People Not Wearing Seat Belts

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By David and Wendy Mills


In the blink of an eye, our 16-year-old daughter was gone. She had just left with her friends to go to a Halloween party. They were only a few blocks away from our house when their car veered off the road. Her three friends walked away with minor cuts and bruises, but Kailee was killed when she was thrown from the vehicle. She was the only one not wearing a seat belt.


That was Oct. 28, 2017 — a day we will never forget. We couldn’t believe Kailee had taken off her seat belt. She always wore it. Her friends said she took the seat belt off for just a second to slide over for a selfie. You hear stories all the time about crashes that happen in your neighborhood and people who were injured or killed and weren’t wearing their seat belts. We never thought it would happen to us — to our daughter. We know that if she had been wearing her seat belt, she’d still be here. Instead, the girl we called our “ray of sunshine” is gone. In the weeks after the crash, we looked up statistics on seat belt use and traffic crashes. What we found surprised us. We learned how many people die each year on our roads because they weren’t buckled up. Last year alone, 927 people weren’t wearing a seat belt and died in traffic crashes in Texas even though the seat belt use rate in our state has topped 90 percent in recent years. Each one of those fatalities leaves family and friends who must find the strength to carry on without them. That deep loss is difficult and painful beyond words. We know that pain firsthand because we live with it every day.


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