BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Buckling up in a car is not an option in Virginia. It's been required by law since the 1980's.
Still, many drivers and passengers who lose their lives in car accidents are not wearing seat belts according to police.
"Wearing your seat belt will save your life," said Sergeant Dennis McBride with Virginia State Police. "It will increase your chances if you are involved in a traffic crash."
In Bedford County seat belt usage is above the state average. 83% of all people in vehicles are buckling up, according to the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.
Those who aren't following the law have suffered deadly consequences. Of seven people killed in traffic accidents in Bedford County this year, five were not wearing a seat belt.
"I've seen crashes with minimal amounts of damage, where people did not wear their seat belt and they lost their life," said McBride, who supervises state troopers in the Franklin and Bedford County areas.
In an effort to save lives, the Bedford County Sheriff's Office is launching an effort called "Buckle Up, Live Better" or "BULB."
"It's just trying to wake up some people," said Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown as he launched the new initiative Monday.
Deputies will work with State Police and other law enforcement agencies to step up enforcement.
"If a trooper observes a violation and he stops you, it's very likely you are going to get two tickets," explained McBride. "One for the original violation and one for the seat belt."
"Next year maybe we will have some fatalities, but there will be zero attributed to not wearing a seat belt," Brown said in describing his goal for the BULB program.
By working with churches and other community partners, deputies at the Sheriff's Office hope their efforts will make county roads safer.
To learn more about the program, visit: http://bedfordcountysheriff.org/buckle-up-live-better-seat-belt-safety-initiative-in-bedford-county/