Seat belt usage in Galva low, compared to area

Lisa Depies/GateHouse News Service

State statistics show the seat belt compliance rate in Illinois is at 92 percent, however area state police troopers question that number.

In June, state police troopers, working with HenryCounty Sheriff’s deputies, conducted a seat belt survey in Galva.

“During the survey, we were watching and counting those wearing seat belts as they drove by,”said Atherton. The June survey indicated 76 percent of those in Galva wear their seat belts, the lowest rate among cities surveyed.

In comparison, Orion’s rate was at 93 percent, Cambridge at 87 percent, Geneseo at 81 percent and Kewanee at 80 percent. Troopers would like to see those numbers at 100 percent.

“Most of us understand the safety factor associated with wearing a seat belt, unfortunately, there are still some who don’t take the time to buckle up,” said Jason Wilson, the education officer for District No. 7. “If people don’t want to wear their seat belt for themselves, we would ask they consider doing so for the sake of their loved ones.”

When fatalities do occur on the road, it is the troopers who must inform family members of the death.

“When we show up at the doorstep to tell them the news, families always want to know ‘Why?’ In the back of our heads, we’re thinking, ‘They likely would have survived if they were wearing a seat belt,’” said Wilson.

“Family members tend to think of all the ‘what ifs’ after a accident and one is, ‘What if they’d worn a seat belt?’ By that point, it’s too late,” he said.