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Seat Belts in Car Accidents | Buckling Up Keeps Fatalities Down

In this age of increasing distracted driving car accidents (currently the number one concern of most motorists), we can sometimes forget the important role that safety belts continue to play in keeping us all safe on America’s highways.

Seat belts play a crucial role in reducing fatalities and injuries

Seat belts play a crucial role in reducing fatalities and injuries in car accidents. Wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others while driving or riding in a vehicle. Here are some key points highlighting the importance of seat belts in car accidents:

  1. Reduces Fatalities: Seat belts are designed to restrain occupants in their seats during a collision. This helps prevent occupants from being ejected from the vehicle, significantly reducing the risk of fatal injuries.
  2. Minimizes Injuries: In addition to preventing ejections, seat belts also help distribute the force of a crash over stronger parts of the body, such as the chest and pelvis. This can minimize the risk of severe injuries and protect vital organs.
  3. Protects Against Secondary Collisions: In some accidents, there may be secondary collisions, such as hitting the windshield or interior components of the vehicle. Seat belts keep occupants securely in place, reducing the likelihood of injuries caused by these secondary impacts.
  4. Airbag Effectiveness: Seat belts work in conjunction with airbags to provide optimal protection. Airbags are designed to deploy in conjunction with seat belts, and wearing a seat belt ensures that occupants are in the right position to benefit from the protection offered by airbags.
  5. Legal Requirement: In many places, wearing a seat belt is a legal requirement. Failure to buckle up may result in fines or penalties. These laws are in place to promote safety and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on the road.
  6. Setting a Good Example: Wearing a seat belt sets a positive example for others, especially passengers and younger individuals. It reinforces the importance of safety measures while driving.
  7. Universal Safety Measure: Seat belts are a universal safety feature in vehicles and are designed to accommodate individuals of different sizes. This makes them a reliable and effective safety measure for all occupants.

It’s important for drivers and passengers to make it a habit to wear seat belts every time they get into a vehicle. Not only does it contribute to personal safety, but it also promotes overall road safety.

Seat belts and car accidents

Fortunately, organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conduct important research that serves to remind us just how vital our vehicle restraint systems are. In a recent study from the end of 2010, the NHTSA released its estimates of how many wrongful deaths were avoided in car accidents, thanks to the vehicle occupants being buckled up. In 2009 alone, an estimated 12,713 lives were saved – and, in the five year period from 2005 through 2009, that number reached over 72,000.

With seat belt usage averaging at around 84% for all age groups, it’s clear that most Americans realize the importance of buckling up. Unfortunately, one age group uses seat belts less than the others – 16 to 24 year-olds, only 80% of who use safety restraint systems while driving.

It may be an abstract statistic to read in this article – but the reality of it hit home during the holiday season in the Trenton, New Jersey area. On December 16th, 18 year-old Nick Gazzara, a star soccer player, drove down a snowy highway, lost control of his vehicle and slid into an oncoming truck. He was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene. To combat these kinds of senseless tragedies, the Garden State’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety is working together with the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey in launching a new effort this year to encourage safer teen driving, including the regular use of seat belts.

The program, entitled the “U Got Brains Champion Schools Project,” will offer one thousand dollars to two schools to create their own safe driving initiative and compete against 17 other schools to win driving simulators. It’s named after a state website,, which was created a few years ago to promote safe driving habits.

The site features videos and accounts of car accidents that resulted in personal injury and wrongful death, safe driving tips, and shocking statistics, such as the fact that two-thirds of teens killed in crashes weren’t wearing seat belts. “The main focus today is on texting while driving, but we can’t forget about seat belts,” said Bill Kolbenschlag, a communications associate with the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey.

Teen drivers’ mix of inexperience and sometimes reckless behavior translates to a greater chance of them being involved in a tragic crash than other age groups. Being buckled up at least puts the odds in favor of them surviving such crashes.

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.


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