In late 2019, a little-noticed study revealed that people in northeast Ohio are startlingly bad about wearing their seat belts.

Folks in Cuyahoga County are the absolute worst in the state about putting on their seat belts. There were more than 750 incidents of major injury or death involving unworn seat belts in 2019 in Cuyahoga County. Franklin County residents were the second-worst, and those in Hamilton County came in third.

Failing to wear your seat belt is not a “primary offense” in Ohio, which means that you can’t be pulled over just for driving without it. You can be given an additional ticket for not remembering to buckle up if you’re pulled over for any other reason. Even though 85% of Ohioans have finally begun to wear their seat belts when they’re on the road, there were more than 121,000 tickets issued for the infraction.

Seat belts really do save lives. When your vehicle comes to an abrupt stop in an accident, your body doesn’t stop moving with it. You can end up flying into the back of a seat, into the dashboard or through the window of your car, which increases the odds of a serious or fatal injury.

Don’t take chances with your life or the lives of your loved ones. Institute a strict rule in your car that requires everyone to buckle up before the car starts moving. After all, you may be a safe driver, but you never know who else is out there on the road. You can end up in a wreck through no fault of your own, and you want to do everything you can to protect the people you love from harm.