Seat belt safety | Seattle Auto Accident Attorney
Seat belts are the most important safety feature of a car. The consequences of being involved in an accident and not wearing a seat belt are horrendous. Sixty-three percent of all individuals that were killed in a car accident were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the incident. With the push over the last twenty years to increase seat belt usage via traffic citations it may seem a little unnecessary to mention seat belt safety, but with 17% of the over 300 million people in the population not using safety restraints the concern is still relevant.
In Seattle, wearing a seat belt is clearly important for avoiding a serious auto accident injury, but users must make sure they are using the seat belt properly to be truly protected. Do not tuck the shoulder strap of the seat belt behind your arm. Using only a lap belt does not protect you from being ejected from the vehicle in an accident which is a significant contributor to car accident deaths. If using automatic seat belts you must also use the lap belt portion. Using only the shoulder harness does not prevent you from injuring the spine, head or neck.
You have absolutely nothing to lose by wearing a seat belt. By simply wearing a seat belt properly your chance of surviving a car accident is increased by 45%. You will also afford yourself some savings at the hospital. The hospital costs for unbelted car accident victims runs 50% higher than for those wearing a seatbelt. This of course is due to the increased severity of the injuries sustained by those not wearing a seat belt. Increased injuries mean more intense care and increased hospital stays resulting in a significantly higher bill.
In addition to increased medical bills you may suffer penalties even if you are not at fault in the accident. Many states will reduce the compensation you received from the at-fault driver because of the lack of a safety restraint. The victim is considered comparatively negligent for not protecting themselves and held partially responsible for the injuries they sustained in the accident.
The number of seat belt users has been steadily increasing since legislation started the push for stricter laws in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Currently, around 83% of all drivers and passengers use seat belts, whereas in 1994, the average was close to 60%.
According to research males between the ages of 16 and 25 are the biggest perpetrators of the seatbelt-less driving offense. This age group also claims the title of the highest-risk drivers – gathering more drunk driving, and speeding offense and being involved in more car accidents than any other group.
Take the simple precaution when driving and buckle up fully—and ensure the safety of other passengers in the car and ask them to do the same.
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