Benefits of “Buckling Up” Your Seat Belt

By Neil Kalra

Seat belts dramatically lower the risk of death or serious injury in a car wreck. Time and again the numbers bear this out; and have since the very first seat belt safety survey 60 years ago. Seat belts cut the risk of death to drivers and front-seat passengers by 45 percent. Moreover, the risk of serious injury in a crash when wearing a seat belt also decreases by half.

Seat belts prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected during a crash. A variety of studies the past 10 years report a person ejected from a vehicle in a crash is 20 times more likely to be severely injured and is 91 times more likely to die when ejected from their vehicle in a crash. The consensus of these several studies is that car crash fatalities could drop by a whopping 70 percent if everyone was buckled-up securely when there’s an accident.

Most Americans understand the lifesaving value of the seat belt. In 2019, according to the Federal National Highway Transportation and Safety Agency (NHTSA) 90.7 percent of all drivers and passengers wore a seat belt and an estimated 15,000 lives were saved in 2017 according to NHTSA. It’s no small wonder that wearing seat belts is now the law in every state but New Hampshire.

Even if your vehicle has air bags – in the front dash or as part of an overall crash protection system – they aren’t as effective and could be useless if you're not wearing a seat belt. You can still be thrown from your car or “rattle around” inside your vehicle: hitting the windshield for example, or other objects or passengers. By belting yourself into your seat you remain in the best position to benefit from an airbag’s protection. And all cars over the past 15 years have integrated safety systems by-design that rely on every occupant wearing a seat belt.

Not Wearing a Seat Belt can Cost You Money

As already mentioned, virtually every state and U.S. Territory has a law requiring drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt. If you are caught not wearing one, you’ll likely be issued a traffic ticket, have to pay a fine, and end up with the violation on your driving record. But that’s just the beginning.

If you’re issued a ticket for failure to wear one, it affects your auto insurance rates. And when it’s time to renew your policy, your rates should noticeably jump because that seat belt ticket makes you a “high-risk driver.” Your policy could even be canceled. But wait. There’s more.

If you’re injured in a wreck and you weren’t wearing a seat belt, your insurance carrier could refuse to pay your medical bills. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, your policy may have a clause that states you will not be reimbursed for any damages, both personal injury, and vehicle damage, if you were not wearing your seat belt.

But some people – a very few – still don’t get it. They’ll use weak excuses to justify not wearing seat belts such as:

  • I'm afraid of getting stuck after a car crash.

  • It irritates the skin on my chest and neck.

  • It makes me feel restrained.

  • I'm too large to wear a seatbelt.

  • I can't look over my shoulder before making turns.

  • I forgot.

  • Nobody tells me what to do in my car.

  • I have an air bag. I don't need a seatbelt.

  • I can't wear a seatbelt because I can't feed my baby with it on.

  • I have a medical condition. I can't wear it.

They all look pretty ridiculous when you consider the alternative.

Whether you were, or a family member was, injured due by a distracted driver – private citizen or behind the wheel of a commercial delivery vehicle; you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you deserve.

The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting all accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced distracted driving accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. If you have any questions about your distracted driving accident, call our New York City and Queens accident lawyers today at (718) 897-2211.

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© 2017 by Michael Chuda