Buckle Up During Fourth of July Roadway Traval

By | July 3, 2024 | Car Accidents, Drunk Driving, Featured

Seat Belts Save Lives

The Fourth of July weekend ranks as one of the most dangerous holiday weekends for roadway fatalities.  Take steps to plan ahead and have a designated, sober driver and please BuckleUp!

Car crashes are always unexpected, traumatic and expensive.  Nothing sends your day sideways or your holiday weekend like being involved in a motor vehicle incident. Many of who have driven for many years have been in a motor vehicle collision and hopefully, just a small fender-bender.  Actually, every time you climb behind the wheel, you have a chance of being in a crash.  Few of us can really seriously contemplate that or we might not ever get behind the wheel again.  In our business, we do think about car crashes every day.  Every day we talk with folks who have been in all kinds of crashes. Sometimes they just have questions about how to make a property damage claim; and sometimes, they are overwhelmed and grappling with the medical treatment and total upheaval of their lives.

Because we do think of car accident every day due to our work, we know that wearing a seat belt is the best things you can do to prevent injury in a crash.  Your odds of surviving a crash increase by 45 %.  FORTY-FIVE PERCENT.    I  In order to seat belts to work, we have to use them every time we get into the car.  Once you implement the habit, it becomes one more thing you do not have to think about.

Myths Regarding Seat Belts

There are a lot of MYTHS that people engage in regarding seat belts. Yet, after 20 years, I have never met a single car accident injury client who wishes they had refrained from buckling up–not one.  However, the reverse is true.  We evaluate traffic crash reports daily across Missouri, Illinois and through the Missouri State Highway Patrol.  From our point of view, it is really appalling the number of folks who continue to fail to wear a seat belt.  It is not appalling because they get a citation.  There are severe natural consequences when folks are in a car crash and they do not have their seat belt on.  Rarely, will you read about someone who was EJECTED wearing their seat belt. In fact, we have not come across that specific  situation in many years.  Keeping you in the vehicle is the number one job of a seat belt.

Myth #1:  I don’t need to wear a seat belt because the air bags will go off.  FALSE.  Airbags are designed to work in combination with your seat belt. If your vehicle strikes multiple vehicles or objects, the air bags only deploy once and you will be free to be thrown about the vehicle or from the vehicle.   Also, air bags only go off under certain situations, usually at speeds over 100 mph and not designed to deploy in every crash.  Unrestrained occupants can be seriously injured by the airbag if they are not also restrained.

Myth #2:  I don’t need to wear a seat belt when driving at slow speeds or on short trips. FALSE.  Most crash fatalities happen within 25 miles of home at speed of less than 40 mph.  Fatal crashes have occurred in vehicles traveling less than 12 miles per hour.  An unbelted person hitting a windshield in a 40 mph crash would feel the same as hitting the ground after falling off a five-story building

Myth #3  If I wear a seat belt, I might get trapped in my car if it catches fire or becomes submerged under water. FALSE.  Crashes involving fire or water occur in less than one half percent of all crashes. The greatest danger to vehicle occupants is the impact of the crash itself.

Myth #4  If I don’t wear a seat belt I’m not affecting anyone but myself. If I’m injured or die in a crash from not wearing my seat belt, that is my business.  FALSE.  Deaths and injuries that result from non-use of seat belts cost everyone in the higher insurance premiums, medical costs, property damage and loss of productivity.  Plus, the emotional cost to families and the community is simply too great to measure

Myth #5  I might be saved if I’m thrown clear of the crash. FALSE.  Being thrown to safety in a crash is almost impossible. Your best bet for survival is to be securely held in place by the seat belt.  You are 25 times more likely to be killed in a crash when ejected.  You may be thrown through the windshield and into another vehicle or fixed object, scraped along the pavement, or even crushed by your own vehicle.

Statistics and Personal Experience Illustrate the Effectiveness of Seat Belts

While we see the statistics, we personally see the real life examples of car crash victims daily.  Not only will the failure to wear a seat belt impact you physically, but if you are injured and not restrained, the insurance carrier will undoubtedly say that you were careless and possibly responsible for some of your own injuries.   This may not sit well with you if you hit head on by driver in your lane and you were seriously injured. Actually, it will probably feel like a slap in the face. Since seat belt usage is mandated by law in most states, insurance adjusters absolutely will use your unrestrained status against you.   We know that is a fact as we fight insurance carriers daily on behalf of our clients.

Don’t wear a seat belt for an insurance adjuster, wear it for your friends and families.  Every week we examine the crash reports in various municipalities and state reporting offices.  It is dumbfounding how many people are in crashes where they are not restrained.  There were approximately 25,240 passenger vehicle fatalities in 2022.  Fifty percent of those killed in 2022 were unrestrained occupants.  Currently, the average seat belt usage rate across the US is 91.9%. However, Missouri has a lower seat belt usage rate of only 88 percent.  Illinois has a 94 percent seat belt usage rate.  New Hampshire has the lowest at 71 percent, however, Hawaii has 97% and California has 96% seat belt usage rates.

We know that one in 10 people don’t wear seat belts in the front seats of passenger vehicle.  In 2022, it is estimated that almost 2,600 more lives could have been saved if seat belts had been used.

Unfortunately, there will be some car accidents. We have not had a zero-crash weekend in years and definitely not a holiday weekend.  However, we all can make a conscious effort to reduce the chances of crashes so that everyone thoroughly enjoys the weekend and return home safe.

If you are in a crash and have questions, our attorneys are available seven days a week.

Our attorneys an be reached toll free 1.800.685.3302 or 314.276.1681


About The Author

The Cagle Law Firm

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The Cagle Law Firm serves accident and injury clients throughout St. Louis and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, including the eastern Missouri and southern Illinois communities. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your personal injury case, call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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