Registrar Helps Deliver Safety Message to Teen Drivers
Graphic State Police Demonstration Shows Why Seat Belts Matter

(Taunton, MA) - Registrar of Motor Vehicles Anne L. Collins joined Massachusetts State Police traffic safety officers in a lifelike demonstration of how seat belts can help keep teenage drivers and their passengers safe and sound through the prom and graduation season.

Students at Bristol/Plymouth Regional Technical High School watched as Sgt. Michael Crosby and Trooper Sean Reardon operated a vehicle simulator that mimicked a rollover crash and what can happen when occupants are not buckled up. Several of the crash test dummies flew out of the vehicle's windows during the demonstration.

Registrar Collins said fewer teenage drivers have been involved in fatal or serious injury crashes since tough penalties went into effect for junior operators last year. But she said RMV data also showed persistent and troubling trends that teenagers still are not wearing their seat belts. "Seat belts are designed to keep you inside the vehicle and protected in the event of a crash. Yet, ten of the 13 junior operators killed in crashes last year weren't buckled up."

RMV data also showed that the number of teenage drivers who suffered serious injuries in crashes dropped 42 percent last year over the previous year. But the percentage of 16, 17 and 18 year old drivers not wearing seat belts in those crashes remained high from year to year. In 2006, there were 159 serious injury crashes and 28 percent of the teenage drivers were not buckled up. Last year serious injury crashes dropped to 92 while 31 percent of the drivers were not wearing their seat belts.

"Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers," said Registrar Collins. "We are making progress in getting them to drive safer, but we have to step up the message that seat belts can save even more young lives."

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