Most of us follow the same procedure when we get into a vehicle. The first thing we do is put our seatbelt on. Why do we do this? For most of us, it’s become a matter of habit. The reason that it became a habit is because of the effectiveness of a seatbelt in preventing injuries to motorists. As of 2017, the national usage rate for seatbelts was 89.6%. This was an 11% increase from 2014. An estimated 15,000 lives were saved by seatbelts nationwide in 2017. 2,500 additional lives would have been saved if everyone had buckled up. Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47% were not wearing seatbelts. The consequences of not wearing or properly wearing are clear:
- Buckling up keeps you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Not buckling up can result in ejection from a vehicle in a crash, which is almost always deadly.
- Airbags are not enough to protect you. In fact, the force of the airbag can seriously injure you if you are not buckled up.
Although buckling up is always important, it is just as important to buckle up properly. The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the pelvis and ribcage. Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and neck. Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm. Make sure that your belt fits. Before you buy a new car, check to make sure that the seatbelts are a good fit for you. If you need a roomier belt, contact your vehicle manufacturer to obtain seatbelt extenders.
Unfortunately, sometimes the failure to wear a seatbelt results in tragedy. Just recently, a fatal rollover crash left a baby dead and four others in serious condition. This crash occurred on I-95 in Palm Beach County. At that time, one of the tires on a driver’s minivan blew out. The vehicle traveled off the roadway where it overturned several times. Four of the people in the van were ejected. A child who was thrown from the vehicle died from his injuries. Four other occupants who were thrown from the vehicle, are in serious condition. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, none of the occupants of the van were wearing seat belts or child restraints.
No matter who you are, where you are going, or what speed you are traveling, you and your passengers should always wear a seat belt. It is an easy way to save your life.
This blog was written by partner Jeffrey Gordon.