Why Should I Wear A Seat Belt?
William “Bill” Hurst
The Indiana Car Accident Lawyers at our law office have seen many accidents where a person was either saved because they were wearing their seat belt or suffered severe injuries as a result of not. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement and others to educate people about the importance and benefits of wearing a seat belt, many still do not. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 87% of people wear their seatbelts, leaving 13% of people unrestrained. While this number is a large increase from the meager 60% of people who wore seatbelts in 1995, the number still is not where it should be, at 100%.
According to the Center for Disease Control wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in car crashes.1 Considering car crashes are the leading cause of death among those between the ages of 5 and 34, you could say wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to save lives, period. Many people believe seat belts cause worse injuries or that airbags will protect them just as well as seatbelts. These beliefs have both been proven to be inaccurate by statistical data.
Do Seatbelts Really Prevent Injuries?
Many people believe seatbelts either don’t help or make things worse. The evidence shows otherwise. More than 50% of people who died in car accidents were unrestrained. That may not seem to prove anything, but when you consider that 87% of people wear their seatbelt, that statistic becomes startling. It has been proven that wearing a seat belt reduces the rate of serious injuries and deaths in car crashes by 50%. One of the main reasons seatbelts are so helpful is that they prevent people from being ejected from the car during a crash. People not wearing a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from their vehicle and 75% of people who are ejected from their vehicle die from their injuries. It is estimated that nearly 5,000 deaths per year could be prevented if everyone wore their seatbelt.2 But, no matter what people continue to make excuses as to why they don’t want to wear their seatbelt. Below are a few of the most common reasons people say they don’t wear their seatbelt and reasons they should start.
Why Don’t People Wear Their Seatbelts?
Despite all the statistics some people still refuse to buckle up, these are the reasons why they don’t, and the reasons why they should start:3
1) “I’m not driving very far”. While the fact that you are not driving very far may seem like a perfectly good reason for not wearing a seatbelt, it’s not. Three out of dour crashes (75%) occur within 25 miles of home. So while you may not be driving very far, there is still a chance you may be involved in an accident and your seatbelt may be the only thing keeping you from being thrown through your windshield and into the tree you just hit.
2) “It hurts me”. It may very well be uncomfortable to you, many things that are good for you are not fun. Not many people like to exercise or eat healthy, but they are for your own good. It also becomes habit overtime and then you stop realizing the discomfort or inconvenience. Again, a little discomfort is a much better alternative that being thrown through your windshield.
3) “I’m riding in the back seat”. You can be thrown from a vehicle even if you are riding in the back seat. Not only that, but you also pose a larger risk to the people in the front seat if you are unrestrained. If you are involved in a crash there is nothing to keep you from flying into the person in front of you, possibly causing them injuries. So, if possibly saving your own life isn’t enough motivation to buckle up, think about the person sitting in front of you that you may hurt by not wearing your seat belt.
As you can see wearing a seatbelt can be beneficial to both you and others around you. Statistics show that wearing a seatbelt makes driving much safer. If your own safety isn’t enough to sway you to wear your seatbelt maybe think about the loved ones who would be devastated to lose you. If even that isn’t enough think about the fact that police officers can pull you over and give you a ticket just for not wearing your seatbelt. Car accidents are never fun, even if not tragic. Millions of people every year are involved in a fender bender of some sort and we are here to help.