Seat belt safety at the forefront after recent deaths of 4 teenagers in 3 crashes

Two students died in Suwanne County car crash

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Three deadly crashes resulting in the deaths of four teenagers have rocked the communities in and around St. Johns County.

Two students from Creekside High School, an 18-year-old boy, and a 16-year-old girl were killed last weekend when the car they were driving in, hit a tree. Both were pronounced dead on the scene. Florida Highway Patrol determined neither had been wearing their seat belt.

The type of horror and pain felt from the loss of life is a familiar feeling in St. Johns County. Two other teenagers lost their lives under similar circumstances since late December.

On December 22, an 18-year-old died from his injuries after he was thrown from a car that had been hit by a drunk driver in Julington Creek. In March, an 18-year-old man was killed when for reasons unknown to investigators, the truck he was driving veered off the road and hit a tree. Florida Highway Patrol confirmed at each incident the victims had not been wearing seat belts.

On average, 41% of people killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts, according to St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. It also said men are twice as likely to be killed while not wearing a seat belt than women.

Consumer Reports recommends parents should encourage teens to practice the following safe driving habits, including by setting the example themselves.

Here are some tips Consumer Reports notes for safe driving before you hit the road:

  • Adjust the seat position.
  • Adjust the seat belt; It should comfortably fit across collarbone and hips
  • Drivers should have at least 10 inches between them and the steering wheel
  • Check blind spots
  • Watch the weather so you know what to expect when getting on the roads
  • Limit all distractions; Put away your cellphone
  • Pay attention with your eyes and ears

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