ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — NASCAR driver Ross Chastain was at Franklin Upper School in Rochester Wednesday morning to discuss the importance of seatbelt safety.

According to the New York State Department of Transportation, over 26,000 passengers were killed in car crashes, and about half of those victims did not wear a seatbelt.

Chastain was invited by state officials and the school to speak to students in Rochester about seatbelts and how they saved his life while on the racetrack.

“It needs to become second nature and that’s what it becomes for me. Because I’ve seen the crashes that NASCAR has documented over the years. I’ve been in a few myself and I directly attribute the seatbelt holding me in the seat,” Chastain said. “I have nine seat belts, fireproof suits, a full helmet, and I get back in the Chevy Suburban to get back to the airport and I have one seat belt. That could ultimately save my life.”

BOCES in Spencerport will be holding a similar event on Thursday as part of the “Buckle Up New York, Click It or Ticket” campaign, which is running through Sunday.