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Whitehead, who lived in the 100 bock of Autumn East in the Seasons Trace section of James City County, was westbound on East Rochambeau Drive, a Virginia State Police spokeswoman told the media. He lost control of his Pontiac, went off the road and struck a tree.
Whitehead was apparently speeding; the spokeswoman told The Virginia Gazette that Whitehead "was apparently traveling at a high rate of speed" and did not wear a seat belt.
The crash happened close to the intersection of Barlow Road and East Rochambeau Drive, The Gazette said, at around 7 a.m. Sunday.
Seat belts are a driver or passenger's best defense against serious injury or death in an automobile accident, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Web site. Using a seat belt properly will reduce the odds of dying in a traffic accident by 40 percent, the DMV says.
Airbags don't make seat belts irrelevent or unnecessary, the DMV says; however, they help further cut the odds of death or serious injury.
In addition, drivers who usually wear their seat belt often pays a lower auto insurance premium to pay for crah-related medical expenses than drivers who do not usually wear a seat belt.
In addition, wearing a seat belt helps a driver stay in a position where he or she can maintain control of the motor vehicle during a crash.