Dear Editor:

I am happy that Keagan Smith is recovering from his accident on Highway 84 (SUN letter 11/14/13). However, according to the 10/30/13 accident report, he wasn’t wearing the seatbelt available in his 2005 Toyota Tacoma. That vehicle has a comfortable seatbelt restraint system and multiple airbags so the severity of his accident could have been avoided. I have driven that identical year and make of vehicle for eight years, over 100 times down Highway 84 during the winter into New Mexico without incident. In addition to seat belts, I use 250 pounds of sand over the rear wheels. Hitting a patch of ice at normal or even slower highway speed can be bad news for any pickup driver as the rear end is light when empty.

In addition to the huge expense to Keagan and perhaps his family and even society to repair and rehabilitate his injuries, insurance is a big factor. His vehicle insurance rate will skyrocket for at least three years and any future health insurance will be expensive, although thanks to Obamacare, will at least cover his preexisting conditions. I wish Keagan continued recovery, and the wisdom to drive more safely in the future. Finally, I hope other young people in the area take a lesson from this accident and realize that seat belts protect and save lives!

Fred Uehling

This story was posted on November 21, 2013.