Many states have instituted programs to raise awareness and enforce seatbelt laws. One example in Colorado is the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, where a violation can result in a citation. But another campaign that has garnered national attention stems from one family’s tragedy.
Alexa’s Hugs Seatbelt Campaign
Tad Johnson lost his 19-year-old daughter, Alexa, in February 2013. She died after she was ejected from her pickup truck when it careened off a highway. The vehicle didn’t have much damage, but Tad later learned that Alexa wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
After his loss, ABC News reports that Tad began to look through his daughter’s Facebook photos and made a startling discovery. In not one photo was she wearing a seatbelt. He then reportedly began to look at pictures of her friends and saw the same pattern. His initial response was to send a message to her friends, filled with angry words.
Before sending it out, Tad spoke aloud and asked his daughter, “Oh Alexa, what are we going to do about this?” according to the ABC News report. Imagining a hug from Alexa, he wrapped his arms around himself. He then realized that his arms represented a seat belt’s straps.
This caused him to erase the pending angry message. Instead, he wrote a heartfelt plea to those who had inquired about what they can do for the family during this time of loss. He asked them to honor his daughter by wearing a seatbelt. And that every time they put it on, they would think of it as a hug from Alexa.
From there, Tad created a Facebook page, “Alexa’s Hugs.” It took just a few days for friends to start sending their photos, showing themselves buckled up in their vehicles. Alexa’s Hugs has continued to grow and is now a nonprofit organization that goes into schools and educates students on the importance of wearing a seatbelt.
Why Campaigns Aren’t the Only Reason to Buckle Up
Campaigns such as this can be a great way to raise awareness. But it shouldn’t be the only reason to wear a seatbelt. In Colorado, it’s the law. If someone gets pulled over for another driving offense, not wearing a seatbelt can result in a ticket. But Colorado’s child passenger safety law is also a primary enforcement action. If a child isn’t restrained, an officer can stop the driver and issue a ticket; the police don’t need any other reason to pull the driver over.
This applies to children from birth through 15 years old. And it also requires using the appropriate type of restraint system. For infants, that means using a rear-facing child safety seat. Once reaching one year old and weighing at least 20 pounds, the child can use a forward-facing child safety seat.
But campaigns and state laws still aren’t the only reasons to wear a seatbelt. The most important thing to remember is that bucking up could save a life and may reduce the severity of injuries.
Seeking Legal Advice When Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you or someone you love suffered serious or fatal injuries in an accident that somebody else caused, but not wearing a seatbelt, it might affect your claim. The Law Office of D.J. Banovitz offers a free eBook, Seven Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Colorado Injury Case. If you were in an accident, download your free copy.