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On August 29th the Idaho State Police investigated a single-vehicle car crash resulting in a fatality. The accident took place on I-15 near Blackfoot, Idaho. Gonzalo Lopez-Vasquez, 32, of Wimauma, Florida was driving a 2001 Ford Explorer when he went off the shoulder, overcorrected and the vehicle rolled. A passenger in the vehicle was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He died due to his injuries at the scene. A half-mile from the crash, the driver was located and transported by ambulance to Bingham MemorialThe driver was arrested and charged with Leaving the Scene of a Fatality Crash and Vehicular Manslaughter. The crash is under investigation by the Idaho State Police.

Fatal automobile accidents happen more often than they should. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the state of Idaho had a total of 200 fatal crashes in 2013, which translates to 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people. The Idaho rate of fatal crashes is higher than the national average, which is 10.3 deaths per 100,000.

Many of these deaths are avoidable if the occupants wore their seatbelts. When broken down to show those who wore a seat belt and those who did not, in Idaho you are almost twice as likely to suffer a fatality when you don’t use any kind of safety restraint. Of the 214 deaths in Idaho, 61% of the occupants were not using any type of safety restraint, 34% occupants used some type of restraint while 5% of occupants the status was unknown. The national total is 45% unrestrained, 46% restrained and 9% unknown. These numbers reinforce the importance of wearing your seatbelt when in a vehicle and driving safely.