Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on June 7th, 2019,
by Zane Cagle

Please Wear Your Seat Belt Every Time You Get in the Car!

Posted on June 7th, 2019 by Zane Cagle

Buckle Up this Summer

Without a doubt, the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis is ride in a car. As of 2016, Missouri continues to one of the worst states for seat belt usage at 79.1 percent.  Seat belt usage across the US is about 90.1 percent, but in the Midwest, it remains about 85.5 percent. Missourians under perform their Midwest counterparts by five percent for some unknown reason.  Missourians, we have to do better!  Based on what we fundamentally know about seat belts, we all must use our seat belts every time we get into a car. If the seat belt is not properly used, it cannot save your life or reduce the severity of your injuries if you are in a car crash. After a car accident, most people become believers in seat belts. Do we each really need to experience a serious car crash to be motivated to wear a seat belt?  I don’t think so.

While officers rarely pull drivers over for failure to wear a seat belt, there are consequences in a crash such as serious injuries or worse, death when we fail to buckle up.  These natural consequences are far worse than a ticket.

Yet, time and time again as I read through the crash reports in Missouri, too many people are failing to simply buckle up!  Most often the reason given for not wearing a seat belts is, “I was just going a short distance so I didn’t use my seat belt”.  Considering that the greater percentage of motor vehicle crashes occur within 10 miles of you home, you should NEVER apply the rule of “I’m only going a short distance so I won’t buckle up”.

Fatalities and Serious Injuries as Reported by the Missouri State Highway Patrol

There have been twelve fatalities thus far on the 7th day of June in Missouri and 38 reported serious injuries in the first seven days of the month!  This is simply too high. May had a high number of fatalities–47 and there were 135 serious injuries.  Summer is the most dangerous time of the year for car crashes due to increased traffic, people traveling more miles and the potential for more impaired driving.  Granted, wearing a seat belt does not make you immune to any injuries, but it does greatly DECREASE the number of serious injuries and the number of fatalities. When victims are “ejected” from their vehicles, the likelihood that they will be seriously injured or killed increases multiple times.

Below are serious injury and fatal crashes where the MSHP reported that safety belt was not in use: (each crash is unique and online reports do not contain any corrections made after the initial online report)

June 2, 2019- Camden County. A 56 year-old Linn Creek, Missouri man was killed when his vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a culvert, returned to the roadway, overturned and ejected the driver. It was reported the victim was not wearing a seat belt,

June 3, 2019, Buchanan County. A 25 year-old Kansas City, Missouri man was seriously injured when his vehicle travelled into the median, returned to the roadway, skidded off the south side of the roadway and overturned across southbound I-229 and the driver was ejected. No seat belt was reported in use.

June 3, 2019- Callaway County. A 69 year old Grandview, Missouri man was killed when his car was struck by a semi-truck and he overcorrected and ran off the right side of the roadway and overturned. He was not wearing a seat belt.

June 4, 2019. Warren County. A 29 year-old Fulton, Missouri woman was driving a Chrysler with children passengers. According to the report, all children were unrestrained and one child  sustained serious injuries. The Chrysler traveled off the left side of Interstate 70, overcorrected and traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree. The driver was reported as wearing a seat belt. Other children received moderate injuries. In updated news, the 29 year-old Fulton woman was later arrested for endangering the welfare of a child and DWI.

June 5, 2019-Bates County. A 38 year-old Amsterdam, Missouri man was killed in a two vehicle crash. He was driving a SUV that collided with a box truck. The report indicated he was not wearing a seat belt.

Motor Vehicle Crashes are Leading Cause of Death Until Age 40

In the first three decades of an average American’s life, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death. Wearing seat belts and properly restraining your children in age-appropriate car seats and boosters greatly decreases the likelihood of serious injury and death.  The statistics on saving children’s lives is remarkable both on paper and in my personal experience.  Child safety seats, properly installed have remarkable results, but you have to actually make your child ride in them for the seats to be effective. As a parent, I know it can be a battle to make your kids ride in the child safety car seats. It is a fight you have to win.  I firmly believe if it were not for child safety seats, my children would both have been seriously injured several years ago in a car crash in St Louis City.  Had they not been properly restrained in properly installed child safety seat, I do not know that we would have had such an amazing outcome.  Thus, I’m a disciple of car child safety seats

If a vehicle flips, occupants can be ejected from the car. Your chances of escaping injury are almost zero if you are ejected from a moving vehicle, especially children.  I’ve seen 100’s of injured car accident victims, adult and children. Amazingly, I’ve seen children survive high speed head-on collisions and again, those child seats never cease to amaze me. However, seat belts and child safety seats only help us if we utilize them. They are not guaranteed to keep you from injury  or death, but don’t you want to use every safety feature you can to protect you and your family?

So PLEASE, Buckle Up and Properly Restrain Your Passengers

As the driver, you have the authority to make everyone in the vehicle buckle up.  You’re the one who is going to get a ticket if pulled over and it’s your insurance company that will fight you if someone is injured when not wearing a seat belt. Yes, I’ve been that guy that irritates people by making them buckle up.  If you did the kind of work that I do encountering injured victims of car crashes, go through fatal crash reconstructions,  and spend time with those injured or family members— you would be a fanatic about seat belts.  It only takes one wrongful death trial or visits to a client in intensive care to make someone serious about safety.  The direct result of seeing my injured clients coping with recovery or loss does focus me on the importance of safety.

Safety is prevention……..please use all aspects of safety to prevent car crash injuries and death

You can be seriously injured when you are driving safely and following the rules. It can literally happen to the best and safest drivers. Thus, when encountering unsafe drivers, the likelihood of being involved in a crash increases greatly.   It may be a strong statement, but it is completely unacceptable for anyone to ride in a vehicle without using a seat belt.

Just because you survived as a kid in the “good ole days” by not wearing a seat belt does not make it a good idea.  As I child, I ended up in the front shield of a car when I was an unrestrained back seat passenger.  I got lucky. As a result, my kids cannot travel five feet in a moving vehicle without being properly restrained.   No one should be driving down any highway without being properly restrained!  Riding without seat belts should not have been happening in the 1970’s and certainly not in our day and time knowing what we do about seat belts.

Car manufacturers can develop better designed vehicles for safety and they can improve seat belts, but we MUST utilize the safety features for them to work. And, we each must drive responsibly which includes paying attention, following road signs and obeying the law.

If You’ve Been Injured in Motor Vehicle Crash.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle crash and you are injured, you will need an expert car accident attorney. Honestly, if you are NOT injured, you probably do not need us. We do inform non-injured individuals how to proceed with their clams if they are not hurt.  You should wait a minimum of 30 days to be certain that you are okay physically. If you are hurt, it is going to be more of a process. One, the process of healing is not super quick and you do not want to be discussing numbers with an insurance adjuster or the extent of your injuries because you generally do not know the extent of your injuries or the rate at which you will heal. Our attorneys are available to answer your questions seven days a week.

Call us toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally 314.257.0214, 7 days a week!