Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Public Service Announcment

They buried the broken body of our next-door neighbor, Elaine Jones, yesterday. It was one week to the day after her death.

Lainie had the distinction of being the only resident in town on the Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry (her conviction was for a violent offense). Whatever her past may have been, she was a very quiet neighbor while we lived here. If it wasn't for the dogs, you would have a hard time even telling that someone lived there.

More than how she lived, this post is about how she died.

Traveling westbound on the highway, she lost control of her pickup and drove into the ditch on the right-hand side. The vehicle rolled several times before coming to a stop against a small hill.

People are killed even while wearing their seatbelts, however virtually no people survive being ejected from their vehicle and having it come to rest, upside down, on top of them. Lainie was no exception.

It's impossible to know if she would have survived with a seatbelt, but without one her chances dropped to approximately zero. According to US News & World Report in 2008, although 84% of people were wearing seatbelts, 55% of all traffic accident fatalities were unbuckled. Of those, the odds were even worse at night. Of the more than 12,000 people who died in night-time accidents in '08, two-thirds were unbuckled.

Just as with Naaman being told to wash in the river, fastening your seatbelt is such a simple, easy thing. Just an extra couple of seconds, and it can save your life.

No flowers stand beside the road at the scene of the accident. Only some torn-up sod and an orange arrow point to the spot where a woman lost her life.

Please, buckle up!
Noni Beth

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