Car accidents are the leading cause of death in Americans between ages
five and 34, according to the
Centers for Disease Control. Experts say there is one simple step that motorists can take to dramatically
reduce their risk of serious injuries: buckle up. In this post, our Kansas City
car accident lawyers share some facts and statistics about seat belt use.
What is the effect of seat belt use on auto accident injuries and fatalities?
- Safety experts say that wearing a seat belt is the simplest, most effective
way to prevent crash-related injuries. According to the CDC, wearing a
seat belt reduces your risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%.
- Seat belts significantly reduce your chances of being ejected from your
vehicle in the event of an accident. Many crash fatalities occur because
of occupant ejection: in 2008, 77% of passengers who were totally ejected
from their vehicles were killed.
- Appropriate restraints and child safety seats are even more essential for
young passengers. Using a safety seat properly reduces fatal injury risks
by 71% in infants and 54% in toddlers between ages one and four.
- Between 2004 and 2008, seat belt use saved more than 75,000 lives in the U.S.
Why don't more people wear their seat belts?
Thankfully, more and more people are using their seat belts in recent years.
In fact, in 2012, seat belt use reached an all-time high of 86% nationwide.
However, some motorists still refuse to buckle up. Here are some common
reasons people give for choosing not to wear a seat belt:
Seat belts are uncomfortable. Seat belts are designed to keep you safe while allowing you to move comfortably.
Many motorists who find seatbelts uncomfortable simply aren't used
to wearing them on a regular basis. It's important to remember that
the advantages of wearing your seat belt far outweigh any minor inconveniences
of buckling up.
My vehicle has airbags, so I don't need to wear a belt. Airbags and seat belts are made to work together to provide motorists
with protection in all kinds of crashes. Airbags can provide important
protection in accidents involving front or side impact, but seat belts
can be essential in rear-end collisions or rollover crashes. Don't
assume that you don't need your seatbelt because your vehicle is equipped
I don't want to be trapped ifmy vehicle catches fire or becomes submerged in water following a crash. Only one-half of one percent of motor vehicle accidents involve fire or
water. If one of these crashes does happen to you, you're much more
likely to avoid being knocked unconscious if you're buckled up - and
remaining conscious is essential if you're going to escape your vehicle.
I'm just driving down the road, and I won't even be going that fast. All too many crash deaths occur close to home and at low speeds. There's
never an excuse not to buckle up.