Sioux Falls, SD
When it comes to wearing seat belts: "It saves lives," Gloria Bauske said.
But Gloria Bauske has had many close calls. She says she's thankful she was buckled up.
"It's very important, and I know first-hand," Bauske said. "I have been in two car accidents. And I feel that it saved me to have that belt on. And my son was in a car accident in Brookings and didn't have it on and he is lucky to be with us today because he hit the windshield."
Gloria says she always made it a habit to tell her kids to buckle up.
"There was an accident and it was a head on accident," Gloria said. "I remember the car going up on two wheels and thinking that they were buckled in and they weren't. So luckily for us, it didn't roll."
She says there is no excuse not to take the time to put on your seat belt.
"I think as a normal human thought is that it's never going to happen to me, until it does happen to you and then it's too late for some people and there is no going back," Bauske said. "There is nothing that is that important to not take a couple of seconds and to click it."
In 2013, the South Dakota Highway State Patrol addressed just under 8,000 seat belt violations.
"If you knew you were going to be in a crash in the next minute, what would you do? Obviously the first thing you would do is put there seatbelt on, if you knew that it was coming," South Dakota Highway Patrol Captain, Alan Welsh said.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nationwide seat belt use was at a record high of 87 percent in 2013. However, nighttime seat belt use continues to lag behind.
"A lot of people think that seat belts only get enforced during the daytime but we write a lot of tickets at night. People need to buckle up for their own safety, we are not out there to for the ticket, we just want compliance and we want people to buckle up," Welsh said.
Gloria has also experienced pain and loss after a deadly car crash that killed her niece, who wasn't wearing her seat belt in March 2012.
"My niece in Mitchell was the one that was killed by the drunk driver. Everyone in the vehicle had their belts on but her and we will never know why. And she was killed. She was thrown from the vehicle and killed," Bauske said.
More than two years later, memories of Bella are still fresh in her mind.
"Precious little girl so full of life, gone in a flash. All the things that we are going to miss, her prom, seeing her get married. She loved to dance, so they always say dance with the angel Bella,” Bauske said.