Highway Patrol urging seatbelt safety

LAWTON--Following the deaths of five people, in five seperate car accidents, in just two months the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's Troop G is urging everyone to wear their seatbelts.

The five fatal accidents have all claimed the lives of people under the age of 25.  According to the Highway Patrol all of them were not wearing seatbelts when their accidents occurred.

"It should be the first thing everybody does when they get in a vehicle," said Trooper Richard Van Horn.  "A race car driver, when he gets in his race car, the first thing he does before he even starts the vehicle is put his seatbelt on."

Van Horn has been a trooper for five years and this is his first year with Troop G in Lawton.  He said he's never seen a stretch like the one here that's claimed so many young lives, in such a short time, with seatbelts not in use.

"I don't know why they wouldn't wear them," he said.  "Maybe they think they're invincible that they don't need to.  Maybe they just forget to put it on.  Maybe with everybody else in the car they get distracted by friends talking, whatever."

"It gives me the chills, it's just so heartbreaking," said Cathy Hillmann about the recent deaths.  Her daughter Hannah just got her learner's permit Thursday.  "We've talked about it a lot.  She's seen the news and read the papers and hopefully it's hit home."