Don't take a chance -- buckle up

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - Updated: 7:22 AM

A car crash early Tuesday morning in the town of Mohawk claimed the life of an 18-year-old Johnstown woman and left another 18-year-old woman, the driver of the vehicle, with serious injuries.

Police said the driver lost control of the vehicle, a 1996 Honda, while negotiating a curve.

According to New York State Police, both woman were not wearing seat belts when the crash occurred on Van Antwerp Road.

There are many factors involved in this tragic accident and it's difficult or impossible to determine at this time if it may have been preventable. What is known, however, is that statistics show the extent of injuries suffered by both women would have likely been less severe if they were wearing seat belts.

According to data from the New York State Department of Health's Bureau of Occupational Health and Injury Prevention, among motorists who were involved in a crash, those who were unrestrained were almost eight times more likely to require hospitalization than those who buckled up.

Additionally, unrestrained motorists involved in a crash are over four times as likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury compared to those wearing a seat belt.

There's more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that "when used correctly, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent, and risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. For those riding in the rear of vans and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) during a car crash, rear seat belts are 73 percent better at preventing fatalities."

Tuesday's terrible accident can't be undone. However, we hope that it may motivate drivers and passengers who otherwise may not have used their seat belt, to do so.

Sometimes accidents aren't preventable, but every occupant of a vehicle can improve their chances of surviving a crash or of not getting seriously injured if they buckle up.