Here I am back again sounding like the supreme back seat driving nag. Buckle up, slow down, check your blind spots etc. etc. and on and on! Well……… last week two people in my area were killed in a car accident and guess what? Neither were wearing their seat belt! I’m not easily surprised much these days about the driving experience but I was shocked to discover that In 2012, 55% of teens killed in traffic wrecks in the United States were not wearing seat belts. That’s what I said, 55%! More than half. The outcome could be much different if they were taking advantage of the FREE life saving restraint device that is in all cars. Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. This should be a sobering reminder for everyone to buckle up with they get in a vehicle. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens and that number would be reduced if all teens would buckle up.
Think of it this way. When you are in a car traveling 70 mph, your body is also traveling at 70 mph. If the car suddenly stops from an external force such as another vehicle your body is still going 70 mph. If you do not have something restraining you like a seat belt, your body will hit the windshield or the dashboard at 70 mph. It could also fly out of the car at 70 mph and hit the road or tree or whatever is in your path. If you are buckled up you will be safely tethered to you seat and not fly anywhere. Humans were not designed to fly. There is usually somebody at this point that comes up with the tired old line.. “I know somebody who was saved because they were not wearing their seat belt and were thrown clear” of the burning, or rolling, or falling off of a cliff or other (insert here) vehicle they were in. Oh Brother, really?! You have a 55% better chance of not dying in a car accident if you have your seat belt on. You also have probably a 99% chance of not catapulting through the windshield. The other argument I hear for not wearing seat belts is since the advent of Airbags you don’t need them anymore. You actually need to use them more with airbags. The reason being is that the seat belts hold you in place so your body is where it is supposed to be when the airbag deploys. If your car is hit at an angle your body may flop to the side of your steering wheel and the airbag will do you no good at all.
Another thing to remember is that if you are the driver of the vehicle it is your responsibility to see that all of your passengers are buckled up. You as the driver have the liability and the responsibility that goes with driving a car. In many cases the driver of the motor vehicle can be held liable for what happens to their passengers. If you have a passenger that refuses to wear their seat belt, drop them off at the nearest bus stop.