COLLEGE STATION — Lawrence Marshall Dealerships in Hempstead will be the first car dealerships in Texas distributing safety information to new car buyers to support Coordinated Campaign Safe and Sober. Kids Aren’t Cargo hang tags will be placed in all new pickup trucks.
The decision to distribute the information came as a result of when Nell Marshall, wife of Lawrence Marshall, was involved in a head on collision with another car in Brenham, causing more than $10,000 damage to her 1996 Oldsmobile Regency.
Fortunately, Mrs. Marshall was wearing her safety belt and was protected by an air bag. She received only minor injuries.
“If I didn’t have them (safety belts) on, where would I have been? I feel like they really did their job. I guess I would have been thrown through the windshield or into the steering wheel, but the safety belts held me in,” Mrs. Marshall said.
Mrs. Marshall was presented with a certificate from the Texas Safety Belt Survivors’ Club. The club is a promotion sponsored by the Texas Department of Health’s Safe Rider Program to increase the usage of safety belts.
The certificate is awarded to people who have survived a serious accident by wearing their safety belt who otherwise would have suffered a serious injury or death.
The Texas Transportation Institute reports for 1995 that only about 72 percent of Texans wear their safety belts. Out of the more than 3,000 traffic deaths reported for 1995 by the Texas Department of Public Safety, more lives could have been saved by the use of safety belts.
Estella Smith, Houston area spokesperson for Campaign Safe and Sober, is leading the program by coordinating with the dealerships to distribute the materials. She expects other car dealerships across the Houston area to begin handling the information as well.
“Mr. Marshall is genuinely interested in the well being and safety of his customers and their families,” Smith said.
Smith said in the coming weeks, the Marshall dealerships will be putting “Kids Aren’t Cargo” hang tags in all new pickup trucks they sell.
The Marshall dealerships sell more than 5,000 pickup trucks a year and was the nation’s largest seller of Chevrolet trucks for five years in a row.
Smith said the Marshall dealerships also have agreed to post Campaign Safe and Sober safety materials inside their waiting and sales areas to inform buyers about car safety. The dealerships will also notify all buyers of automobiles with air bags about their proper use, especially with child safety seats.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a person must wear a safety belt while inside a moving vehicle equipped with an air bag. If a person is too close to an air bag when it deploys, they may receive fatal injuries. Safety belts and air bags are a winning combination.
People are encouraged to use a safety belt or safety seat, no matter where they are sitting in the car. Child safety seats can be 71 percent effective in preventing fatalities in children under five.
Janie Harris, Texas Agricultural Extension Service Passenger Safety Specialist, recommends having all children ride in the rear seat. Infants must ride in a rear-facing safety seat. These rear- facing seats should never be placed in a front seat with a passenger side air bag.
Marlene Albers, Extension coordinator for Campaign Safe and Sober, said, “Mrs. Marshall has set a wonderful example for all of us to follow. The combination of the safety belt and the air bag not only saved her life, but prevented serious injury. The next time any of us get into our vehicle, let’s try and remember her example and buckle up.”
Campaign Safe and Sober is a national effort to reduce drinking and driving and increase seat belt usage to 75 percent. Texas has implemented Coordinated Campaign Safe And Sober, which is supported by the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Department of Public Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.