Most people know that wearing a seat belt while riding in a motor vehicle is an important safety measure. However, some may not wear them every single time they get into a car, or they may believe that there are instances when wearing a seat belt is actually a bad idea. Statistics tell the real story – seat belt use saves lives.
Just how effective are seat belts? One study done in 2017 found that seat belts may have prevented over 2,500 fatalities in car accidents had the occupants worn them. The same study estimates that seat belt use saved nearly 15,000 lives. If you or someone you care about here in California is reluctant to buckle up, there are several more facts about seat belt use in crashes that may convince even the hardest skeptic.
Numbers don’t lie
If the above percentages weren’t enough to convince you to buckle up, here are a few more. The 2017 study revealed that almost half of the people who died in car accidents failed to use a seat belt. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 50% of males who died in traffic crashes were not using a seat belt.
Breaking the numbers down further, using a seat belt while riding in the front seat of a car reduces a person’s risk of death in a crash by 45%. It also reduces the risk of serious injury by 50%. Since the effectiveness of seat belt use is so high and the fatality rate for non-usage is as well, wearing a seat belt should be a given.
Proper use of seat belts
There are so many factors in a crash that are out of a person’s control, such as the weather or the actions of another driver. Wearing a seat belt is simple and within your control. Experts say to be sure that you wear the lap belt across the pelvis, with the shoulder belt going across your rib cage. Avoid putting the shoulder belt under your arm and make sure the belt fits snugly. If other passengers need assistance, ensure that they are safely buckled in before starting your drive.
Many people assume that air bags will be enough to keep them protected in a crash. However, airbags were meant to work in tandem with seat belts to keep people safe. In fact, not wearing a seat belt could result injury or death due to a high amount of force from an inflating airbag.
Know your rights if you’ve been hurt
Even if you take proper safety precautions, you may not be safe from a careless driver. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you may want to consult an attorney to determine your options. Seat belts may save lives, but they aren’t an excuse to be reckless.