Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that while seatbelt use nationwide is as high as 83 percent in 2008, there are also troubling trends such as:
- Drivers driving alone have lower seatbelt use than drivers with passengers.
- Drivers 16-24 years old have a lower rate of safety belt use than any other age group.
- Among all other races, seatbelt use is the lowest among Blacks.
- Male drivers are less likely to buckle up than females.
Seatbelt use is the single most effective thing a driver or a passenger can do in order to protect themselves in case of a motor vehicle accident. Ever since Volvo pioneered the automobile seatbelt in 1889, more than 13,000 lives have been saved every year. From 2004-2008, it has saved more than 75,000 people involved in crashes.
Aside from these figures, here are 5 reasons why seatbelt use can save your life:
- Seatbelt use is the best defense against road hazards such as impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Even if your vehicle is caught up in a crash, wearing a seatbelt can keep passengers safe and secure within the vehicle and avoid deadly ejections.
- Even if your car has airbags, you still need to wear a seatbelt because airbags are meant to work with seatbelts, not replace it. In a crash, even if an air bag deploys, the force of it, along with your forward momentum could injure or kill you.
- Everyone should use seatbelts – from pregnant ladies to kids, everyone should be safely restrained. Visit the NHTSA site to learn more about the proper use of safety restraints.
- Buckling up isn’t as easy as 1-2-3, there is a safe way to do it in order to maximize occupant protection. The lap and shoulder belt must be secured across the pelvis and the rib cage.
- You can get your seatbelt adjusted for a better and safer fit – ask your dealer about seat belt adjusters or the manufacturer for seatbelt extenders.
Bear in mind however, that these statistics may not be reflected in real life especially in more severe crashes or in instances wherein the seatbelt may have failed. Seatbelts cannot absolutely save occupants – but you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim against the party who is responsible for the damages you sustained.