The Mississippi Highway Patrol said they are still investigating a two-vehicle accident that claimed the life of a man from Ripley, Mississippi. Officers arrived on the scene of late night accident last week on MS Highway 370 in Benton County, near the Tippah County line.
After arriving, troopers were able to determine that Michael S. Love, 55, of Ripley, was traveling eastbound in a 2004 Ford F-150, when he sideswiped a 1995 Plymouth Neon going the other direction. The Neon was driven by Kayla King, 24, of Ashland.
Police have said that after Love crashed into King’s vehicle, the Ford F-150 left the road and smashed into a utility pole. Love was ejected from the vehicle and died on the scene from injuries sustained during the wreck. Sadly, he was not wearing a seat belt at the time. King was transported to North Mississippi Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and her passenger was taken by helicopter to a Memphis hospital with serious injuries. Both King and the passenger were wearing their seat belts.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those between the ages of five and 34. An astounding 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009.
The CDC says that adults who do not use safety belts may think that their behavior only affects them, but they are wrong. Studies consistently show that there is correlation between adult belt use and child belt use. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when a driver is buckled, 94% of the time children in that vehicle are buckled; but, when a driver is unbuckled, only 30% of child passengers are buckled. What parent wants to pass along such a dangerous habit?
Beyond the physical harm of not wearing seatbelts, there’s a monetary impact as well. Vehicle crash costs skyrocket when occupants aren’t wearing seat belts, because unbelted victims sustain more severe injuries. Of the people who survive car crashes, unbelted victims stay three-to-five times longer in a hospital and incur two-to-seven times the medical costs of those wearing safety belts, according to the NHTSA.
Drivers in the Southeast, including Mississippi, are less likely to buckle up than the rest of the nation’s drivers. One reason is that drivers in the region spend more time on rural roads, incorrectly believing they are in less danger than on the interstate and thus feel less of a need to buckle up. However, according to NHTSA research, 75% of all traffic deaths and injuries occur within 25 miles of victims’ homes, at speeds of less than 40 miles per hour. Being thrown against a dashboard in a 30 mile-per-hour crash is like striking the ground after falling from a third-floor window.
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