Seat belt usage continues to be a focus for the Wyoming Highway Patrol as this year's traffic death toll continues to rise.

While Wyoming's seat belt use did increase by 1.5 percent between 2017 and 2018, the state continues to trend below the national average, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"We've experienced people that have not buckled up," Sgt. Jeremy Beck said of this year's 129 fatalities.  "We had a crash over towards Rock Springs early this year where it was a van full of children as well as a couple of adults or three and no one was wearing a seat belt in the vehicle, everyone was ejected."

Beck says one of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up.

"We focus a lot on fatality crashes and whether or not you were buckled up," said Beck.  "However, this doesn't show the numbers of folks that were saved or did not experience a serious injury that were involved just in a motor vehicle collision that did not result in a fatality."

Beck says there's always going to be people who think that going without a seat belt is safer than buckling up, but "there's a lot of people that have been killed that would love to take that argument up with them and explain to them they would still be alive right now if they would have been buckled up."

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