When most adults were children, seat belts were not required to be used by law. Many of us may remember the days when we sat in the back seat and putting on a seat belt never even crossed our minds. But research has shown that using a seat belt saves lives.
Times have changed and seat belt use by Americans is now at a rate of about 90.1%. While this is a huge improvement from 2000 where the seat belt usage rate was 70.7%, an estimated 27.5 people in the U.S. still do not use seat belts. States that have seat belt laws that allow a car to be pulled over solely for not using seat belts have seen a higher rate of seat belt usage than states without these laws.
Not wearing a seat belt can have deadly consequences. According to the National Highway Transportion Safety Association, the use of seat belts reduces the risk of fatal injury to light-truck occupants by 60% and to front-seat passengers in a car by 45%. In 2015, 35,092 people were killed in auto accidents and 48% were not wearing seat belts.
One reason that seat belts increase safety in a car crash is that the belt prevents occupants from being thrown out of a vehicle. While serious injury can still occur to occupants inside a vehicle, being thrown from a vehicle almost always results in fatality.
The use of a seat belt is an important first step in protecting you and your loved ones while in a vehicle. But equally important is wearing the seat belt correctly. Follow these safety tips to make sure that you are using your seat belt the way it was intended and it is providing maximum protection:
- The shoulder belt should cross the middle of your chest and away from your neck;
- The shoulder belt and lap belt should fit securely across your rib cage and pelvis – areas of the body that are more able to withstand the force of a crash;
- The lap belt should not rest across your stomach, it should cross your hips;
- The shoulder belt should never be place under your arm or behind your back. This decreases the effectiveness of the seat belt and can cause serious injury in a crash.
Proper seat belt usage is vital, not only for the driver but for the passengers as well. Buckle up for the safety of you and your loved ones.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a vehicle accident you need aggressive, knowledgeable lawyers to fight for your rights. Contact the attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP online or by phone at 888.777.1776 for a free, private consultation to learn more about how we can help.