Authorities Agree, Seatbelts Save Lives
According to the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes”. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the United States. Most crash-related deaths in the U.S. occur to passenger vehicle occupants (drivers and passengers).
- A total of 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle crashes in 2015.
- More than half of teens (13-19) and adults 20-44 years who died in crashes in 2015 were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
- More than 2.5 million drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in a motor vehicle crash
- Young adult drivers and passengers, agers 18-24 have the highest crash-related non-fatal injury rates of all adults
- Non-fatal crash injuries to drivers and passengers resulted in more than $48 billion in lifetime medical and work loss costs in 2010
Evolution of the Seat Belt
The seat belt was invented in the late 1800’s to keep pilots in their gliders, but the first seat belt for automobiles was introduced in New York City in taxis to keep tourists safe. It wasn’t until the mid-1930’s when several physicans began testing lap belts and saw their impact and urged car manufacturers to install them in their car seats. In 1954, Sports Car Club of America required competing drivers to wear lap belts during racing competitions. Since 1966, American vehicles were required to have seat belts in their cars. By 1975, most first world countries had seat belt requirements in their cars.
Having a seat belt in the car and occupants wearing them were two different things. The National Traffic And Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 was the creating of the first seat belt laws requiring occupants to wear seat belts. If you were around then, you know that seat belt usage was not pervasive. By 1995, every state except New Hampshire had “click it or ticket” laws. Currently, all states have a seat belt law.
Missouri Crash Fatalities and Low Seatbelt Usage
Between 2003 and 2012, there were 8,073 motor vehicle occupants killed in Missouri. Nationally, 86 percent of motor vehicle occupants wear their seat belts, however, in Missouri, only 79 percent are reported as wearing their seat belts. In the last two decades, safety organizations have spent inordinate amounts of resources on educating the public on the safety benefits of seat belt. Seat belts have been proven to increase the likelihood of preventing deaths and serious injuries in motor vehicle crashes. Seat belts have never been guaranteed to prevent injury or death, but in crash after crash, I see them save lives. As a car accident attorney, I talk to individuals every day that I might not be able to talk with had they not been wearing a seat belt.
Illinois- Exceeds State Average for Seat Belt Use
Unlike Missouri, Illinois is reported as having a 94 percent seat belt usage rate compared to the 86 percent national average. Good job, Illinois! Whether or not to wear a seat belt is not a debate for these modern times. Too much statistically information is out there and frankly, too much personal experience lets us know that seat belts save lives. So, buckle up whether you are traveling across country or a few blocks to the grocery store. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained.
Seat belts have never “guaranteed” that any victim would never be injured or even killed in the even of a motor vehicle collision; however, seat belts overwhelmingly save lives and decrease the likelihood of serious injuries by keeping the occupants IN the vehicle. When a victim is ejected from the vehicle during a crash, death and/or serious injury is almost always the scenario.
In a Crash?
If you are in a motor vehicle crash and are injured, you need to consult an experienced car crash attorney right away, before you begin talking with insurance companies. Often, an attorney can help you determine in the beginning if you even need an attorney. Furthermore, it is always better to begin making decisions with the most information you can have.