Buckle Up: The Safe Choice When Traveling the Roads
By now, most people are aware of the importance of using seat belts when in a vehicle. We also have all heard the phrase ‘seat belts save lives.’ Fortunately, it appears that these messages are having an impact, as seat belt use nationwide is increasing. However, there is still a need to address seat belt safety. This is because many people still die or are injured in crashes every year due to not wearing a seat belt.
Do Seat Belts Really Save Lives?
An annual survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that during a 15-year period of increased seat belt usage during daytime hours, there was also a decrease in unrestrained passenger fatalities during the daytime. For the year of 2019, the NHTSA estimates that 90.7% of adult front-seat passengers in the United States utilized safety belts. Furthermore, they surmise that the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved approximately 14,955 lives in 2017.
How Seat Belts Protect Occupants
When worn properly, seat belts offer occupants the best protection in the event of an accident.
- Keeps you from being ejected from the car (which is almost always fatal).
- Keeps you from being thrown into the airbag.
- By keeping you safe in the vehicle, you are more likely to remain conscious and have a decreased incidence of bodily injury.
Consequences of Not Wearing a Seat Belt
People may choose not to wear a seat belt for various reasons. For instance, they may not use it correctly and therefore feel it is not comfortable, or they do not want to wrinkle their clothes. But if an accident occurs, the safest precaution a person could have taken is to use their seat belt. Take a look at some deadly consequences of not wearing a seat belt represented in these statistics:
- 47% – the percentage of passengers killed in 2017 who were unrestrained
- 51% – the percentage of male passengers killed in 2017 who were unrestrained
- 54% – the percentage of passengers aged 13 – 15 killed in 2017 who were unrestrained
Know the Laws in Your State
In Missouri, 60% of persons killed in car accidents were found not to be wearing a seat belt. Reducing death and injury are the main reasons for wearing a seat belt. However, it is also good to know the seat belt laws of your state.
Missouri has a secondary law in terms of seat belt enforcement. This means that a law enforcement officer must have a separate violation to stop you before citing you for not wearing your seat belt. However, this is not a pass to be negligent with seat belt usage, especially since Missouri also has a primary law in effect for occupants who are between the ages of eight to fifteen. Besides, Missouri has an 87.7% seat belt use rate, which is far below the national average of 90.7% cited above. So, for your safety and those who may be in the car with you, everyone should buckle up!
Seat Belt Recommendations for Children & Adults
Everyone should be wearing a seat belt every time they get in a car to take a trip. Whether you are just going across town or across the country, wearing a seat belt is necessary, and it’s the law. All occupants from infants to teens, pregnant women, and adults of all ages should use a safety restraint.
Tips for Correctly Wearing a Seat Belt
To ensure you and those traveling with you get the protection offered by wearing a seat belt, the device must be worn properly. Here are some tips for correctly using safety restraints.
Adults & Pregnant Women
- The shoulder belt should be across the middle of your chest and not close to your neck.
- The lap belt should be secured across your pelvic area, not your stomach.
- Do not put the shoulder belt behind your arm or back.
- Infants – always use the proper child safety seat and ensure it is correctly installed and secured.
- Young children – always use the proper car seat and ensure it is correctly installed and secured.
- Tweens – check the laws for your state regarding the weight or age limits for children that would necessitate a booster seat vs. an adult seat belt. When using an adult seat belt, ensure the shoulder belt is across the chest (not the face or neck), and the lap belt is across the upper thighs.
- Teens – guidelines for adult seat belt usage should be followed, including proper placement of the lap belt over the pelvic area and shoulder belt across the middle of the chest.
We have come a long way from the days when seat belts were seen as optional. That’s because we are aware that seat belts truly save lives. Hopefully, you will never be involved in a tragic incident because of a failure to wear a seat belt. In the event that you or one of your family members is injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault, please give us a call. We would love to help!