Seat belts help to keep you secure inside your vehicle, reducing head injuries and the deadly prospect of being thrown from your car in a crash. So why is it that nearly one out of every ten people on the road still isn’t using a seat belt, thereby greatly increasing the risk of serious injury or death?
The answer may have something to do with persistent myths about seat belts that imply they are dangerous, unnecessary, or of minimal value. But decades of hard data tell a different story. If you’re still buying into any of these bogus claims, it’s time for a reality check.
EXCUSE #1: “BELTS DON’T REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE”
Guess again. Of the 23,824 passenger vehicle deaths in 2020, 51 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts. Studies indicate that buckling up in the front seat of a passenger car reduces your risk of fatal injury by 45 percent; in a light truck, the risk of fatal injury decreases by 60 percent.
EXCUSE #2: “I’M NOT GOING FAR”
If you’re convinced that seat belts are only appropriate for long highway trips, then no, you’re probably not going far. Studies have consistently shown that most serious accidents occur within 15 miles of home, at speeds of 40 miles per hour or less.
EXCUSE #3: “I HAVE AIRBAGS”
Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. If you’re not wearing your seat belt during a crash, you could get thrown into a rapidly expanding frontal air bag and be seriously hurt or killed.
EXCUSE #4: “SEAT BELTS CAN INJURE OR TRAP YOU”
Any equipment in your vehicle can be a potential source of injury in a crash, but seat belts are a lot less likely to cause mayhem than the refusal to use them. As for the claim that seat belts might make it harder to escape in certain situations, such as a plunge into a lake, that’s an extreme statistical anomaly. Incidents involving fire or water make up less than half of one percent of all crashes, and wearing a seat belt greatly increases your chance of being conscious and able to extricate yourself.
EXCUSE #5: “GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE KIDS, BUT NOT FOR ME”
Some drivers, particularly young adult males, have the attitude that seat belts are “unmanly.” But the fatality rate for unbelted male vehicle occupants between the ages of 18 and 34 is even higher than it is for other groups not wearing a seat belt. In addition, modeling bad behavior can endanger others; researchers say child restraint use drops by 40 percent when parents choose to ride without seat belts.
The bottom line? Seat belts have been with us for so long because they work. Buckle up, please.
THE CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Grand Junction, Greeley, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.