Many drivers who have never been in an accident begin to believe that old cliche: "It will never happen to me." Too often, this attitude leads to complacency and careless behavior behind the wheel, making it more and more likely that an accident will happen to you.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and we, the Jackson County Missouri car accident lawyers, all believe that every accident is preventable. Ultimately, this means that every accident is the result of some kind of human error: someone's behavior somewhere along the line caused or influenced the accident, or perhaps even made it worse.
Here are some staggering facts about car accidents and seat belt use. Hopefully, they'll encourage you to change any of your own complacent driving behaviors (or perhaps they'll provide you with information to help change the behaviors of someone you care about).
Did You Know? Seat Belt Facts
Without a seat belt, if you are in a car accident going as slow as 30 miles per hour and you hit the windshield, steering wheel, dash board, or other hard surface of the car, the force of your impact is the same as if you fell from a three-story building.
Without a seat belt, death can occur from these types of impacts, even with speeds as low as 12 miles per hour.
Without a seat belt, the protection provided by the air bag system is cut almost in half. That means instead of hitting the air bag with the force of a trip and fall, you are impacting with the force of falling off the edge of a platform about 6 feet high.
Twice as many people die when seat belts are removed from the equation. More than one half of passengers killed each year would have lived if they had been wearing seat belts.
Without a seat belt, your chances are greatly reduced. Your chances of surviving a serious car accident with a seat belt are 42 times greater than they are without a seat belt. Think of it this way: if you drop a dime in a dark room, you can turn on all the lights to help you find it, or you can just use a flashlight. What makes more sense?
Buckle Up for Safety
As of November 17, 2011, 661 people have died in traffic accidents throughout Missouri. That means two people are killed every day. Nationwide, five people are killed every hour as the result of a car, truck, motorcycle or pedestrian accident.
Wearing your seat belt is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself and your passengers in the event of a car accident. Seat belts save lives. Seat belts reduce the impact and force on your body during a collision, thus reducing serious damage and injury to you. Wearing a seat belt changes the dynamics of what happens to your body. Instead of being thrown against the steering wheel or windshield, you are held securely in place. The choice is yours, but you should make it an educated decision.
If you are involved in a traffic accident and your seat belt or air bag system did not operate properly, you may have a personal injury claim. Contact the Jackson County Missouri car accident lawyers for a free consultation.