New statewide seatbelt campaign "For Salena. Buckle Up."

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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. A new statewide campaign is in effect to raise awareness about the importance of buckling up. The Nebraska Safety Council and Drive Smart Nebraska partnered up to develop the campaign, “For Salena. Buckle up.”

Salena Cochrane was killed in a rollover crash in 2014 and was not using a seatbelt. 77% of the 130 fatal crashes in Scotts Bluff County from 1993 to 2015 were unbuckled.

“We now have built this state wide campaign around Salena and her family and remembering Salena and trying to remind all Nebraskans to buckle up,” said Mark Segerstrom, Road Safety Project Coordinator for the Nebraska Safety Council.

“You know it only takes two seconds to grab it and click it, two seconds. You ask yourself, is your life worth two seconds? It's got to be,” said Dick Cochrane, Salena’s father.

According to the Department of Transportation, in 2016, 100% of teen driver fatalities were not wearing a seat belt. In 2015, 74% of Nebraska’s road fatalities were also not wearing a seat belt.

“Parents, grandparents, uncle's we all have to set an example. We have to lead by example and we have to be the first ones to put our belts on. When parents buckle up, young people buckle up 92% of the time. When parents don't buckle up, young people only buckle up 64% of the time,” added Segerstrom.

Salena’s mother, Tricia Garcia, says it’s important for her to share her story.

“I can't stress how important it is to not only be an example, but to share with your family stories like this. Hopefully that can be something that would be strong and moving enough to make them think twice, because it can happen to you and it just takes a second,” said Tricia Garcia.

“You know I know some kids probably think it's not cool to wear a seatbelt, but you’re uncool if you don't,” added Cochrane.

Nebraska has a secondary seat belt law. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, Nebraskans wear their seat belts 83% of the time, however Scotts Bluff County has a seat belt usage rate of 66%.