One of the leading causes of deaths for people under the age of 35 is car accidents, many of who require the services of a car accident lawyer. More than 40,000 people die annually as a result of car accidents. About two-thirds of these people do not wear seat belts. More than half of these deaths could be prevented if the people involved wore seat belts.
Males between the ages of 16 and 25 are the least likely to wear seat belts. Approximately 10 percent of high school students do not wear seat belts. These statistics are related to driving under the influence and drunk driving. More than 70 percent of teenagers killed in car accidents while drunk driving were not wearing seat belts. One of the reasons why teenagers are most at risk is because they often underestimate the dangers of reckless driving, driving under the influence or not wearing seat belts.
Road accidents in which people did not wear their seat belts cost citizens more in taxes, insurance rates and healthcare. Generally, it costs more to care for an un-belted car accident victim than it costs to care for a belted car accident victim. In the end, most of these costs end up being paid for by citizens. On average, each American citizen pays $585 annually in taxes and other costs related to car accidents.
Imagine if the fastest man on earth runs as fast as he can, into a wall. You would expect him to be pretty banged up. Now that is how it feels to hit something in a car moving only at a speed of 28 miles per hour (speed of the fastest man on earth). If you get involved in a car crash, the force will keep you moving until an object such as the dashboard or steering wheel stops you. If you do not wear a seat belt, the force will be four times harder than if you wear one.
The effectiveness of a seat belt in lessening the force of impact in a car crash is determined by how well it is worn. It is important to ensure that your seat belt fits snugly. This ensures that the shoulders and the hipbones, parts of the body that can take significant force, bear most of the impact in the event of a crash. Make sure you wear both the shoulder strap as well as the lap belt. If you wear only the shoulder strap, you risk being strangled from sliding out underneath it. On the other hand, if you only wear the lap belt, you risk smashing into the steering wheel in the event of a crash.
Drivers often come up with different excuses for not wearing seat belts. The most common excuse is that they do not intend to drive far. However, it is important to know that most accidents occur within 25-mile radius from home and at speeds of less than 40 miles per hour. Drivers who are thrown out of their cars after impact are more likely to die than those who are not.
Seat belts are considered one of the most effective ways for staying safe during car accidents. Most states in the U.S. have laws on seat belt safety for adults, children and toddlers. Most people are likely to use seat belts if the states in which they live have seat belt laws. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts save up to 13,000 lives each year. However, for a seat belt to be effective, it must be used properly.
Several guidelines govern correct seat belt fit. According to the NHTSA, your seat belt should fit across your shoulder and over the middle of your chest. Avoid wearing your seat belt around your neck or throat. The lap belt should fit across the hip and below the stomach. Avoid putting the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. When purchasing a new car, it is important to assess how the car’s seat belt fits you. Some auto dealers provide extenders and seat belt adjusters for a more comfortable fit. In addition, some auto dealers can help you retrofit it with the latest shoulder/lap belt combinations, if your car has only lap belt seat belts.
Seat belts are designed to work with your car’s air bags. However, this does not mean that you should not put on your seat belt just because your car has airbags. The force of hitting the air bag while unbuckled can injure or kill you. In addition, only seat belts can protect you in side impacts, rear-end crashes and rollovers.
Pregnant women can and should wear seat belts. Make sure the seat belt fit is comfortable enough and allows you to reach the gas and brake pedals. It is also important to maintain a distance of 10 inches from the steering wheel and dashboard throughout your pregnancy. Maintain this distance as your stomach grows. Pregnant women should also keep their vehicle airbags on and use them with seat belts.
Many parents have foresight and prevention skills because they are keen on ensuring their kids’ safety. One way to ensure the safety of your kids when on the road is by practicing proper seat belt safety.
Always place your infant or toddler in a child safety seat before riding in a car. While older children can use forward-facing seats, infants and toddlers must have rear-facing seats. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should fit your child into a five-point harness system before riding your car. This system is recommended for children between the ages of four and five. In addition, you can attach child safety seats to your car using seat belts. Today, many car manufacturers include latch systems on all their cars. Latch systems use three tether points to secure the seats. The latch system is the recommended method for securing children into car seats.
You know your child has outgrown a safety seat when his shoulders are higher than the tops of the safety seat’s shoulder straps. At this point, the child is ready for a booster seat. As the name suggests, a booster seat boosts your child to the proper height so that you can strap him using a car seat belt. Booster seats come with or without a back. It is advisable to use booster seats with both shoulder and lap belts and not with just one of the belts. The lap belt should run across your child’s thighs while the shoulder strap should fit along the center of your child’s shoulder and chest.
Most car seats are designed for people who are at least four feet nine inches tall. Children who have not reached this age should always use booster seats. If your child is tall enough to use a seat belt, make sure the shoulder straps do not cut across the child’s throat. Shoulder straps should rest on the center of your child’s chest. In addition make sure the shoulder straps and lap belts do not run under your child’s armpits and across the stomach respectively. Lastly, wear your seat belts. Your children are likely to wear their seat belts and keep them on if you have your seat belts on.
Child Restraint Law
In most states, child restrain laws cover toddlers. Most states require parents to use age appropriate restraint devices for their infants when driving. Children between the ages of one and five years, weighing between 20 and 30 pounds should ride in booster seats. Older children weighing more than 40 pounds are allowed to use adult seat belts.
Consider moving your child to a booster seat when he outgrows his forward facing car seat. Generally, most parents move their children to booster seats after their fourth birthdays.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advices parents to continue keeping their children riding rear-facing for as long as possible. They also encourage parents to keep using forward-facing car seats for as long as they can fit in one.
Most insurance companies ask drivers about their driving habits when they apply for coverage. One of the reasons why insurance companies are keen on their clients’ driving habits is because it costs more to provide healthcare for unbuckled crash victims than those who wear seat belts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority, $585 billion has been saved on medical care and related costs since 1975 as a result of seat belt use.
Parents who do not wear seat belts while driving are less likely to teach their children to use seat belts. According to the NHTSA, only a third of children with unbuckled parents wear seat belts. It is important to know that children are at greater risk of injury in the event of a car crash. Buckled children are 70 percent more likely to avoid serious injuries.
As of 2008, the only state without an adult seat belt law is New Hampshire. Other states penalize unbuckled adults with fines that range from $10 to $200. You are less likely to hit the windshield if you are wearing a seat belt because the seat belt controls your motion and lessens your inertia. This means that, if you are unbuckled and driving at 50 miles an hour and suddenly stop, your body will move forward at almost the same speed as the car before it stopped.
Injury and Death
One of the most common dangers of not wearing seat belts is death or injury. For example, in 2006, 28,141 people lost their lives in car crashes in the U.S. Of these, 55 percent were not wearing their seat belts. Isolating those between the ages of 13 and 15, 65 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts. Proper use of shoulder and lap belts reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 45 percent and moderate to serious injuries by 50 percent. Many adults elect not to wear their seat belt in the back seat of a car or when in a taxi cab, resulting in unnecessary injuries. This is a huge mistake.
Children are less likely to use seat belts if their parents do not use seat belts. Males between the ages of 16 and 25 are the least likely to use seat belts. However, proper use of seat belts is necessary to prevent injuries and fatalities. In addition, children below the age of 16 years should ride in the back seat.
Most states in the U.S. have primary seat belt laws. This means that law enforcement officers in such states can pull you over just to slap you with a seat belt citation. In states with secondary seat belt laws, officers can pull you over for other traffic offenses before giving you a seat belt ticket.
You can be fined for not wearing a seat belt in states that have either primary or secondary seat belt laws. All vehicles operating in Florida are required to comply with Florida seat belt laws. The cost of seat belt violation is $30 for unbuckled adults. You can also be charged $60 if your child is unbuckled.