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Local first responders across the Richmond area are urging members of the public to use their seatbelts whenever they’re on the road. This push comes after Virginia State Police investigate two fatal car crashes this week which both people who passed away from the accidents were not wearing their seatbelts.

On Monday, Aug. 22, an 81-year-old man died in a single vehicle crash in Powhatan County and was not wearing a seatbelt. Then, on Friday, Aug. 26, a 23-year-old driver died in a crash in Henrico County after he did not wear his seatbelt and was ejected from the car.

Danielle Geronimo, a paramedic with Richmond Ambulance Authority, has witnessed first-hand the way a seatbelt can save a life.

“There’s no worse feeling than arriving to a scene of a car accident where a fatality or a seriously injured patient is involved,” Geronimo said. “Especially when we know this could have been prevented.”

Geronimo tells 8News that seatbelts, when worn correctly, reduce the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%.

“Seatbelts save lives.” Geronimo said.

The belt’s primary purpose is to prevent individuals from being ejected from their vehicles upon impact in the event of a crash. Geronimo noted that when an individual is thrown from the vehicle, they have a 75% chance of being killed.

“It’s heartbreaking to go to a fatality.” Geronimo said.

Chesterfield Police also note the importance of wearing a seatbelt. Sargent Michael Lasorsa described just how serious operating a vehicle is.

“Your vehicle is a 2,000 pound object going down the road.” Lasorsa said. “If it’s ever struck or you happen to strike somebody, we really want you to stay in the confines of your vehicle and stay in the seat you’re supposed to be in.”