First responders in South Carolina are aiming to improve seat belt usage throughout the state. In 2018 alone, 349 people lost their lives in car accidents when they were not wearing their seat belts, including a number of teens. One woman who was herself injured in a car accident in 2009 as a high school student while not wearing her seat belt is speaking across the state in order to promote seat belt safety. The woman was thrown 50 feet from her vehicle in the crash, breaking vertebrae in her back. She was paralyzed from the neck down as a result of the accident.

The woman spoke about her experiences, saying that failing to wear a seat belt can unexpectedly change teens’ lives. She is collaborating with South Carolina State Troopers as well as local emergency services and fire departments in a program that began after a 2018 accident that killed a high school sophomore. The woman said that while teens know that it is always possible to have a car accident, people may not anticipate some of the more serious injuries that can accompany a motor vehicle collision.

Cars may flip over or drivers and passengers could be ejected, leading to serious injuries or even fatalities. Statistics indicate that around 91 percent of drivers and front seat passengers in South Carolina regularly wear seat belts, but the campaign aims to raise that figure to 100 percent participation.

Of course, wearing a seat belt cannot prevent all of the damages that can be caused by a serious auto accident. In many cases, crashes are caused by distracted, drunk, or otherwise negligent drivers, resulting in severe injuries to occupants of other vehicles. People who have been harmed in such a collision can work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages.