There was a time not too long ago when many people did not see the need to wear seatbelts while in a car, and not only that, rarely were people putting their children in car seats. With the passing and enforcing of laws that require passengers to wear seatbelts and parents to ensure that children are in proper safety seats, some people have changed their habits.
What is so amazing is that with so much proof that seatbelts save lives, there are still numerous people who do not wear seatbelts. Seatbelt laws are not just a hindrance to a citizen’s free will, but a very useful law in saving the lives of drivers and passengers alike. Not wearing seatbelts causes more accident fatalities that almost any other cause today. Over 68% of all fatalities in car accidents were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of impact. That is a very large percentage of lives that could have been saved simply by buckling up.
It has been estimated that seatbelts save nearly 10,000 lives every year and it is not hard to imagine how much this could be increased if everyone that got into a car used their seatbelts. The most likely candidates for not wearing seatbelts are males between the ages of 17 and 25. Even the most expansive of educational programs are not helping to convince these drivers to think of safety first. The most likely reason is the natural inclination for people of that age group to think of themselves as invisible.
With a program of education not getting through to those who prefer not to wear seatbelts, the solution is not clear. It may be that more aggressive laws need to be passed to promote the use of seatbelts. Together with this needs to be a very aggressive prosecution of those cited for not following the seatbelt laws.
The myth that you do not need a seatbelt if you are driving only for a short distance or at a very low speed is simply inaccurate. Almost 50% of accidents happen at speeds of less that 40 mph, and fatalities have been known to happen at a speed of 12 mph. It is also a fact that 80% of accidents involving a fatality occur less that 25 miles from home.
It is pure myth that you are safer during certain types of accidents by not wearing your seatbelt. Though submersion and fire account for less that half of 1% of all accidents, you still stand more of a chance surviving if you are wearing your seatbelt. If you are knocked unconscious during the accident by hitting your head on something, you certainly will not escape a burring car.
The shoulder harness is also an important part of seatbelt safety and should be worn at all times. This will keep you from hitting the steering wheel, windshield or dash. If the shoulder strap does not fit correctly, it can be dangerous and should be adjusted until it does fit right.
Protect your life and the lives of your passengers by requiring anyone in your car to wear a seatbelt, and that all children are securely fastened in child safety seats.