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April 18, 2014

Detective's Dispatch: Buckle up

McALESTER — In today’s world, everybody seems to be in a hurry. Sometimes we are in such a hurry that when we get in our vehicle, we forget to buckle up. It only takes a few seconds to put your seat belt on. These few seconds could change the rest of your life!

Imagine running late for your son’s or daughter’s Little League game, your family gets in the car and you take off. You are only going a couple of miles, so you think it is OK not to buckle up or you just simply forget. You pull out on the highway and your family is struck by a vehicle that runs a red light. You and your children are thrown out of the vehicle and are hurt or possibly dead. Now instead of going to your Little League game, you are riding in an ambulance headed to the hospital, praying that you and your children survive. The few seconds that it would have taken to put your seat belts on may have prevented this. Don’t let this happen to you or your family; take the extra time buckle up and protect yourself and your children.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, more than 15,000 lives are saved each year in the United States because drivers and their passengers were wearing seat belts when they were involved in an accident. Seat belts prevent occupants from being thrown from a vehicle. People thrown from a vehicle are four times more likely to be killed than those who remain inside.

If seat belts are worn properly, the lap belt should fit snugly across the lap, over the hips and upper thigh area. The shoulder belt should rest securely across your chest and shoulders, between your breasts. What this does is restrains the strongest parts of the body and spreads out the force from a collision. It helps the body slow down and protects your brain and spinal cord.

Children under age 1 and those who weigh less than 20 pounds should sit in a rear-facing child safety seat and should always be placed in the back seat. Children older than 1 who weigh more than 20 pounds should ride in a forward-facing child safety seat and should always be placed in the back seat. Most children grow out of safety seats around age 4 or when they reach approximately 40 pounds. Children should then ride in a booster seat until they outgrow it.

None of us know when we may be involved in an accident, so please take the extra time that it takes and buckle up. Protect all of your passengers, including yourself, and the most precious cargo of all, your children.

To schedule a neighborhood watch meeting or other safety program contact officer Jeremy Busby at 918-423-9657 or email him at

If you have any information that may help us solve a crime, contact McAlester Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 918-421-4917 or email me at You may remain anonymous. To report any other criminal or suspicious activity, contact the McAlester Police Department at 918-423-1212 or if it is an emergency, dial 911. Hope everybody has a safe week and don’t forget to buckle up!

Det. Sgt. Morris is the public information officer for McAlester Police Department. Contact him at 918-423-1212 or

Tip of the week: A seat belt ticket is $20 and failure to have child properly restrained is $84.

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