12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Click it or Risk It - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Click it or Risk It

Sgt. Steve Jarrett shows how a person can be ejected from a vehicle in a rollover simulator. Sgt. Steve Jarrett shows how a person can be ejected from a vehicle in a rollover simulator.
Dummies in this simulator show how bodies are tossed around and ejected following a rollover crash. Dummies in this simulator show how bodies are tossed around and ejected following a rollover crash.
Sheri Festoso was wearing a seat belt and her son Sam was in a car seat and survived a 2004 crash. The driver of the other vehicle, unbuckled, was killed. Sheri Festoso was wearing a seat belt and her son Sam was in a car seat and survived a 2004 crash. The driver of the other vehicle, unbuckled, was killed.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Seat belts save lives. That's a fact. But week in and week out there are fatal accidents where someone wasn't wearing a seat belt, including the recent crashes in which children who weren't in car seats died. The children died in a crash back in February along Interstate 85 near Waugh.

We've brought you too many stories like that. Now, we show you exactly what happens when you don't buckle up in video that will compel you to buckle up every time you're in a car.

Every time you get in the car you are faced with a simple decision that could save your life: Whether to put on your seat belt.

Close to 100 people died every day in 2013 in car accidents and most were not wearing a seat belt. The devices increase your chance of surviving an accident by 45 percent, yet people continue to get into their vehicles and not buckle up.

Buckling up is the first thing Sheri Festoso and her family do when they get in the car. Sheri shutters to think what might have happened to her son, Sam, if she had not strapped him in his car seat before they were involved in an accident.

"I think that's the only reason he's here today," Festoso says.

Sam agrees. "Not many people walk away."

In May of 2004, another car slammed into Sheri's SUV on the Alabama River Parkway, flipping the vehicle at least once. Their car flipped at least once.

Sheri, who was buckled in, suffered a fractured hip. The driver of the other car, who was not wearing a seat belt, died in the crash. Sam, who was strapped properly in his car seat, didn't suffer a single scratch.

Sgt. Steve Jarrett with the Alabama Department of Public Safety says 70 percent of fatal accidents involve someone who was not buckled in.

Seat belts prevent you from being ejected during a crash. The Center for Disease Control reports people not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash.

More than 3 out of 4 people who are ejected die from their injuries.

"We've seen a trend of people running off the road and being ejected not wearing a seat belt," Jarrett explains.

Just this year, out of the 170 people who have died in car crashes, 101 were not wearing seat belts. That's nearly one a day. Five children who were not in car seats have been killed. 

Sgt. Jarrett shows the difference car seats and seat belts make using the department's rollover simulator.

We placed a camera inside and outside the truck to show you exactly what happens in a crash when seat belts are and are not in use. After the truck rolls over several times, with seatbelts on, our dummies remain strapped in their seats.

After taking the seat belts off. The dummies are violently tossed around the cab, slamming into the dash and roof before being thrown out the window.

"They would either be seriously injured or dead," Sgt. Jarrett says.

Without a seat belt the body continues to travel at the same rate of speed you were going in the car until you hit something.

Seat belts must be worn properly to work. Sgt. Jarrett cautions putting the shoulder strap behind your head is not effective. For children, a seat belt without a car seat is not enough protection.

In our simulator, the child was tossed out of the vehicle quickly. "In this case the vehicle would have rolled over on the child and killed the child," Sgt. Jarrett explains.

Sheri Festoso knows her story could have ended differently is she hadn't taken the few extra seconds to buckled up herself and her son. "How thankful we are that it ended up the way it did."

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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