Deadly Prince George's County crashes put spotlight back on seatbelt safety

Two fatal crashes in Prince George's County have one common contributing factor: eight people who died - including five young children - were not wearing their seatbelts.

Last Saturday, a crash took the lives of five children on Route 301 in Bowie.

State Police say the children weren't wearing seatbelts, and they were thrown from the vehicle.

Just a week and a day later, another deadly crash killed three adults on Glen Willow Drive in Seat Pleasant. Like the Bowie crash, the three people who were killed were not wearing seatbelts.

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, 91 percent of drivers and passengers do wear their seatbelts.

But if officials could get that to click for 100 percent of the people in vehicles, they say 60 people could have been saved in 2016.

Prince George's County police say the recent crashes in the county are a grim reminder that people still need to hear about the importance of buckling up.

"We cannot stress enough how important seat belt safety is. It only takes a matter of less than three seconds to pull that belt over your shoulder and click it. It definitely saves lives. Buckle that safety belt, get rid of the distractions. Concentrate on the road. Don't let any of those distractions be the last distraction that you ever take," said Prince George's County Police Cpl. Lamar Robinson.

According to the law in Maryland, not wearing a seatbelt is a primary offense, so you can get pulled over for it, and fines are as high as $83.