Luckily they had their seat belts on

By Troy M. Thomson

I was asked to write a blog about an incident that affected me that had to do with the lack of wearing or the use of seat belts. I thought about this for a few days and tried to think of a single case that really made me stop and think how important seat belts are. But I just couldn’t pinpoint one incident, no matter how long I thought about it.
Maybe I should tell about the high school girl who rolled her vehicle on a gravel road. When I arrived, she was laying in the middle of the road on her back after being ejected out of a window during the crash. I ran over to her and bent down, and saw she was crying. She reached up and rubbed my cheek and called me daddy. EMS personnel treated and transported her to the hospital, however, she was later pronounced dead.
I can think of several of these stories, but there is a silver lining! There are not nearly as many fatal accidents now as there were 20 years ago. Some of this can be attributed to the safer design of our automobiles, but I feel the main reason is the increased use of seat belts by drivers and their passengers.
It is my belief that all accidents that we respond to have an impact on us. After discussing this with Undersheriff Wenzl, we realized that after almost 75% of the serious accidents we work, we always turn towards the other officer and say either, “They were lucky they were wearing their seat belts,” or “They would have stood a better chance if they had their seat belt on.”
So in conclusion, I would say that I hope that people will make that decision to put on their seat belt, because it is their decision to wear it. If that day ever comes that you are involved in an accident, we want to be able to say “Luckily they had their seat belts on.”

Troy M. Thomson is the Norton County Sheriff


  1. Steve Swartz9/23/2015

    Thanks for sharing, Sheriff. Not everyone sees first hand the results of wearing or not wearing a seatbelt. If they did, there would be a lot more 'lucky' ones and your job would be a lot easier.

  2. Anonymous9/23/2015

    I hope you don't have to respond to very many crashes. But if you do, I hope you time that luckily they were wearing their seat belt. Thank you for your service.

  3. David Greiser 9-23-159/23/2015

    It is nice to hear a story with a positive outcome. Sheriff Tomson is right in saying wearing your seatbelt is everyone's decision to make. If you always wear yours, thank you, if not there is no better time to begin the habit. Seatbelts save lives!

  4. Anonymous9/29/2015

    Let's hope that sharing your story will teach others that buckling up is the safe and right thing to do.