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Seat Belt Safety

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Monday a six-year-old who was not wearing a safety belt lost his life just minutes away from his elementary school. Now, area parents and members of law enforcement are rethinking seat belt safety.

Chad Billman spent Tuesday afternoon with his son Elliot. As a parent, Chad was disheartened at Monday’s news.

Monday morning State Road 20 came to a standstill as a six-year-old was ejected from an SUV and is no longer with us. Officials with the Florida Highway Patrol say seat belts were not in use.

FHP SGT James Gaskins was on scene Monday and says it took him back to another case in Madison County.

SGT James Gaskins says, "A young infant wasn't buckled up in a child seat and the mother was headed on U.S. 27 in Madison County. She struck a guard rail and the child was thrown out of the car into the woods. We spent time looking, trying to find the child."

In 2002 there were more than 1,000 traffic fatalities in Georgia; 38 percent of the passengers were not wearing a seat belt. A year later more than 2,000 traffic fatalities were reported in Florida with 60 percent of passengers unbuckled.

OFC David McCranie of the Tallahassee Police Department says, "It has a personal impact and it has an impact throughout your career. There are officers now retired and they still talk about the crashes they worked with kids involved."

Chad Billman, a parent, adds, "There's nothing hard about their safety, it's just part of being a parent."

If you're not sure how to properly buckle your child, you are asked to visit your local police department.


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