Importance of Seat Belt Use
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton auto accident attorney. Seat belt safety is extremely important on the road. Although some people may believe seat belts do not help or make matters worse in an accident, national statistics prove otherwise. The combination of air bags and seat belts as well as other advanced safety equipment together increase the chances of surviving a traumatic auto accident by 60 percent.
Seat Belt Use Statistics
Wearing a seat belt has been proven to save lives. While some always wear theirs, thousands of others do not and suffer fatal injuries since they didn’t buckle up. Below are statistics surrounding the importance of seat belt use:
- Seat belts saved the lives of 14,668 in 2016. If every vehicle occupant had buckled up, an additional total of 2,456 fatalities could have been prevented that same year in question (according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety);
- In 2016, approximately 262 children between the ages of eight and 12 were fatally injured in traffic accidents. Roughly half of those fatalities involved lack of seat belt use (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration);
- The risk of serious injury and death in a traffic accident is reduced by half when wearing seat belts and properly securing children into car seats appropriate for their age and size (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
- Teenagers and impaired drivers have been found to have lower usage rates of seat belts (according to the AAA Exchange).
Seat Belt Use in California
While California is a state with primary seat belt enforcement laws, some still do not wear their seat belts regardless of the associated safety risks. Following are the rates of seat belt use per year within the state:
- 2010: 96.2%
- 2011: 96.6%
- 2012: 95.5%
- 2013: 97.4%
- 2014: 97.1%
- 2015: 97.1%
- 2016: 97.3%
- 2017: 96.2%
How to Use a Seat Belt Properly
- Lap bands should be positioned low and snug across the hips. These should never lie across your stomach if you are pregnant;
- Shoulder belts should be placed across the chest and collarbone. These should never be placed underneath the arm. If you experience issues with the shoulder portion rubbing along your neck or face, try moving your seat backward or forward;
- Shoulder belts should rest snugly with no more than one inch away from the body;
- Sitting up straight is important in maintaining good posture, especially when riding in motor vehicles. When an individual slouches while restrained by a safety belt, it can decrease the effectiveness of the belt, particularly when the back is away from the seat or if the seat is reclined;
- When a seat belt is too small for you, you may consider contacting your car manufacturer or local dealer for an extender. Aftermarket safety restraint systems may also be available for your vehicle, however, these should be installed by professionals.
Seat Belt Use and Auto Accidents
Seat belt use is the most effective safety technology within motor vehicles today. While seat belts are critical in ensuring your safety, they can sometimes be defective and fail to properly restrain occupants within your vehicle. When this happens, an injured party may bring an auto products liability claim against a manufacturer for damages incurred in an accident involving a defective seat belt. It is important to contact an experienced auto accident attorney in Stockton when faced with these types of claims as they may be extremely difficult to pursue. By having a skilled lawyer by your side, you can be assured that your claim will be investigated thoroughly to reach a favorable recovery on your behalf.
Stockton Auto Accident Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton auto accident attorney. When faced with injuries following an auto accident, you need the assistance of an experienced attorney. Call me any time at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.
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