EDITORIAL: Click it or suffer from the repercussions

By Justin Colman

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper announced charges against Royal Oak resident Anthony Prainito for involvement in a vehicle accident that injured Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and two other people.

Prainito has been charged with three counts of Moving Violation Causing Serious Impairment of a Bodily Function.

According to the Auburn Hills Police, all four people were injured in the crash. Three of the four people involved were not wearing their safety belts during the moment of the accident, including Patterson.

While the charges against Prainito are accurate, nothing has been said about how the severity of the injuries could have been avoided if everyone was wearing their safety belt.

According to a report on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a safety belt reduces serious injuries and fatalities in crashes by 50 percent.

Even though the only person involved in the crash that wore a safety belt was injured, it could have been a lot worse. For the other three who were not wearing safety belts, they can be thankful for not being killed.

Safety belts are made for a reason: to protect you from any car-related accidents. If these safety belts are made to protect you and the steps required to fasten and secure your safety belt are quick and easy, why aren’t you doing that?

There is no excuse for a person not to wear a seatbelt, unless they are not physically capable of wearing one.

The Michigan State Police enforce a primary safety belt law in which the driver and all front seat passengers must wear their safety belts while driving. Why? Because they want to maximize safety and promote safe driving.

Seems pretty simple.

Think about it for a moment. Safety belts can reduce injuries and death by 50 percent and there are laws that enforce wearing safety belts. Now consider this: there’s a guy being charged for injuring two people who refused to abide the law and put themselves at risk.

It seems rather unfair Prainito is being charged for injuries that were beyond his control. Yes, Prainito did cause the accident, which caused the injuries. That by all means is a violation of Michigan Vehicle Code 257.601d, Moving Violation Causing Serious Impairment of a Bodily Function.

But in this case, it should be the people who refused to wear their safety belts that are responsible for their own injuries, and not the driver that caused the accident. The safety belts could have reduced the severity of the injuries and their law would be enforced.

Yet somehow, Prainito is being held responsible for two other people’s negligence of the law.

I’ve been in car accidents before, so I understand just how ugly they can be. But both times I’ve been involved in a car accident, I always wore my safety belt. Why? Because it’s common sense to wear one when in the car — or at least, I thought it was common sense.

Contact Chief Copy Editor Justin Colman via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @justinbcolman