Crash victims credit seatbelts for saving their lives

Two victims involved in a serious car accident in Concord Friday are crediting their use of seatbelts for saving their lives.

The victims say they always use their seatbelts and are grateful they were buckled up Friday afternoon.

Images from the scene of the crash on Concord Boulevard and Landana Drive may have made it hard to believe that anyone walked away from the accident, but the people inside each SUV did. Five people were inside a Toyota 4 Runner and two people were inside a Chevy Suburban that collided Thursday afternoon.

Jared Goss, 18, was behind the wheel of the Toyota and his girlfriend, Kasey Smith, 17, in the passenger seat. The teenagers said three of their friends were in the backseat of the car.

“We flipped a few times, but luckily our seatbelts held us in,” said Goss.

Goss and Smith had to be rescued by firefighters because they were trapped inside the car. Goss said his seat belt was strangling his neck, but he is grateful to walk away with only a few cuts and bruises on his arms, hands and head.

Goss said he always makes it a point to buckle up and make sure his passengers buckle up when he is behind the wheel because knows he is responsible for their lives.

“I don’t let anyone in my car unless they are going to wear a seat belt,” said Goss.

According to the Office of Traffic Safety, 97.4 percent of California drivers used seat belts on the road in 2013. That number was slightly up from 95.5 percent in 2012.

Goss and Smith said they hope their story could change at least one person’s mind into wearing a seat belt because it saved theirs.

“I just kind of thought of it as a habit and something I do, but I didn’t think it would be helpful in the long run until this happened,” said Smith of buckling up.

Goss added the accident could have been much worse.

“We could have died,” he said. “Seat belts definitely played a huge role in keep us as safe as possible.”

Concord Police said they are still investigating the crash, but ruled out any involvement of drugs or alcohol.