When we think of a serious car or truck accident and the sometimes devastating injuries, we do not always stop to think about whether or not the passengers involved were adequately prepared. Both the driver and the passengers have a responsibility to follow the laws that were created to keep them safe while on the road, and this includes the law about wearing a safety belt (or seat belt).
The primary purpose of seat belts is to keep drivers safe and to hold them in the car when an accident occurs. Seat belts are different from air bags because air bags do not protect against side impacts at all. In fact, research shows that air bags increase the effectiveness of a safety belt by 40%.
In a recent Miami Gardens accident, two children were ejected from a vehicle on their way home from school. The two children were with two others and were headed home from Norland Middle School in a shuttle van that they take every day when another driver hit the van in a Nissan Altima. The impact threw two children from the car, and they were taken to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. The children were reported to be in stable condition, and no information has been released about whether or not they were wearing seatbelts.
Studies show that accidents like this are not uncommon; in fact, nearly 40,000 people die every year in car accidents. Safety belts can prevent death in approximately half of these accidents, and they can also prevent ejection from the car in case of an accident. Safety belts must be worn right in order to transfer the impact of the collision to the parts of your body that can take it.
There are many reasons and excuses that people give for not wearing their seatbelts. One of the most common excuses is that the driver is only going a short distance and for a short period of time. "I'm only going to the supermarket" is a poor excuse for not wearing a seatbelt because 80% of traffic fatalities occur within 25 miles of home and at speeds under 40 miles an hour.
Other drivers think that they will never be involved in an accident because they are such "good drivers". What they must keep in mind, however, is that they are not the only cars on the road and a bad driver can hit them at any time. In other cases, the driver thinks that he or she will have time to brace themselves in an accident. Even if you had the ability to do this, the force of the accident would shatter the leg or arm that you used to brace yourself.
If you do not wear a safety belt because you are afraid that the seat belt will trap you in your car, keep in mind that the place you want to be during an accident is in your car. If you are thrown out of your car, such as in the story above, you are twenty-five times more likely to die. Cars and motor vehicles have a massive amount of metal and offer protection for their occupants in the event of an accident.
In other cases, drivers do not want to wear seat belts because they think they are uncomfortable. This has also improved over time, and modern safety belts are so comfortable that you may question whether they work. Some safety belts even come with comfort clips, and you can also get a belt extender if the belt won't fit around you. Whatever your hold-up may be, it is important that you find a solution and start wearing your safety belt immediately. The simple act of buckling up whenever you enter your car may save your life. Call a Coral Gables car accident attorney at Mesa Law Firm today to learn more about car accidents and other