Buckling your seat belt is something you should consider doing every time you get in a car, whether you’re a driver or a passenger. If you’re a habitual seat belt wearer, it’s probably such an instinctual reaction that you rarely think about it, if ever. However, your seat belt is more than just an added task prior to driving or riding in a car. It’s actually a lifesaver.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that wearing seat belts has saved over 15,000 lives on an annual basis. When you consider that there are over 30,000 vehicular fatalities a year, the fact that wearing a seatbelt prevents that number from climbing another 33 percent is nothing short of astounding.
How do seat belts save lives?
Seat belt design and construction is very simple. As a result, you might wonder how effective it can be in the event of a crash or other collision. Turns out, they are very effective. A seat belt can save your life by ensuring that your body remains within the vehicle at the moment of collision. Many vehicular deaths result not from the actual impact, but from being thrown out of the vehicle.
Seat belts are also designed with attention paid to the structure of the human body. Ever wonder why the straps are designed to go in front of your shoulders and hips? It’s because these are the areas of your body best equipped to handle the impact of a vehicular collision. Seat belts don’t eliminate the risk of injury, but they are designed in a way that makes injuries much more manageable.
How to Wear a Seat Belt
A seat belt must be properly worn in order to be effective. The bottom strap needs to penetrate your hips comfortably, no higher or lower. The upper strap goes across your torso, chest to shoulders. Under no circumstance should it be in any other position. Improperly wearing your seat belt can be just as deadly a mistake as not wearing one at all.
Children and Seat Belts
All vehicle occupants should wear a seat belt. It’s especially important that children are properly fitted with a seat belt based on their age, weight, and height. Newborns and those under a year old or less than 20 pounds should be in a rear-facing car seat. One to three-year-olds should be in a front-facing car seat. Children four years and older should be in a booster seat until they are tall enough for a seat belt that fits them as it does for adults.
The Importance of Seat Belts
Seat belts are not just important, they are mandatory. There’s a reason why so many vehicles are designed to make a beeping sound if the driver or any passenger is not wearing their seat belt. Putting on a seat belt is a two-second process that could literally be the difference between life and death.
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident, please contact a attorney today. A skilled attorney like car accident lawyer DC trusts can review your case and potentially help you get the compensation you deserve.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.