Two Bedford teens on their way home from school one day last fall were in a car accident that could have had tragic consequences, Bedford Police say.
But Matthew Small, 17, and his sister Alison Small, 15, were wearing seatbelts. And that one small choice saved their lives, Lt. Melvin Padilla said in a recognition ceremony on Tuesday.
“No major injuries were sustained in this collision, most likely due to the fact that everyone was wearing their seat belt," said Padilla, the department's traffic safety coordinator.
"Officer Evans rightfully nominated these youths for Saved by the Belt recognition. 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.
The recognition is part of a national campaign that commends drivers involved in serious motor vehicle accidents where the investigating police officer believes the use of seat belts most likely prevented serious physical injury or death. Recipients of this award 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, according to police officials.
The Smalls had buckled up before leaving school grounds last October 9. When an oncoming car swerved into their lane and side swiped their vehicle—nearly head-on—their car careened off the road and into a tree.
The police investigation found the other driver—who admitted to leaning over to pick up a fallen lip balm—responsible for the accident.
Police said is was fortunate the teens wore their belts, which prevented a terrible tragedy from happening.
Chief Hayes commended the youths for the example they set for others and told them they were "living proof that seat belts save lives."