BEDFORD, N.Y. – Bedford teens Matthew Small, 17, and Alison Small, 15, were on their way home, like any other day, on Oct. 12, 2012. However, when another driver reached for her lip balm and swerved into their lane, their lives were put at stake.
Thankfully, they both were wearing a seat belt.
Had they not been wearing seat belts, they would not of been recognized by the Bedford Police Department Tuesday night as part of the nationwide “Saved by the Belt” campaign.
The Saved by the Belt program recognizes motorists who were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident where the investigating police officer believes the use of seat belts most likely prevented serious physical injury or death.
Recipients of this award recognition must not have been found at fault for the accident and must not have been cited for a violation of the vehicle and traffic law.
Matthew and Alison Small fit the bill, as an investigation at the scene determined the other driver had been responsible for the accident. The driver admitted to leaning over to retrieve a lip balm that she dropped, taking her eyes off of the road.
Fortunately, all of the occupants made the life-saving choice to wear their seat belt and a terrible tragedy was avoided. Chief Hayes commended the youths for the example they set for others and told them they are living proof that seat belts save lives.
“No major injuries were sustained in this collision, most likely due to the fact that everyone was wearing their seat belt. Officer Evans nominated these youths for Saved by the Belt recognition,” said Bedford Police Traffic Safety Coordinator Lt.lif Melvin Padilla.
“Matthew and Alison made a life-saving choice and set a strong example for others in the community. Their story will hopefully encourage others to buckle up,” he said.