We all know the campaign “Click It or Ticket” to encourage all people in passenger vehicles to wear their seatbelts.
The good news is that, nationwide, seatbelt use is at commendable highs. In 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt use across the country was as high as 89.6 percent. In 2017, Georgia’s seatbelt usage rate was an impressive 96 percent.
However, even with the high rate of seatbelt use, there were still more than 37,000 people killed in motor vehicle accidents in 201. Of this number, as many as 47 percent of these fatalities were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident. This goes to show that there is still room for improvement in seatbelt use among car riders.
New studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that audible seat belt reminders could be much more effective in encouraging seatbelt use among motorists, and could save close to 1,500 lives in accident annually.
According to the researchers, increasing seatbelt usage rates could actually bring the United States closer to its goal of zero accident fatalities sooner than anticipated. Wearing seatbelts is a simple, yet deeply effective way of reducing the impact of serious injuries in a crash, thereby helping saving lives.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compared several types of audible seatbelt reminder systems in automobiles, and analyzed the performance and effectiveness of each of these compared to gear interlock systems. The audible warning systems included one by Chevrolet which involved three reminders of seven seconds each, a 100-second reminder system from BMW, and a nonstop reminder system from Subaru that switched off only when the person buckled up.
The researchers then compared the effectiveness of each system, and found that the 100 second reminder system in the BMW and the nonstop reminder by Subaru increased seat belt usage by 30 to 34 percent, compared to the minimal Chevrolet warning which had very limited impact on seatbelt sage. The gear interlock system only increased seatbelt usage by 16 percent.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2017, close to 15,000 lives could have been saved in accidents if the motorists had been wearing seatbelts. While seatbelt usage rates for front seat passengers and drivers have increased significantly across most states, rear seat belt usage rates continue to lag behind. This is an area that national traffic safety authorities need to look closer into – increasing usage rates among back seat passengers could further lower the crash death toll.
In an era of automated forward collision control systems, lane departure warning systems and other forms of car safety technology, seatbelts may seem like an antiquated safety tool. But car safety technology can only do so much to protect you from serious injuries if an accident does occur. And you cannot rely on airbags alone to keep you safe. In fact, in some cases, airbags may actually injure you. Therefore, seatbelts are the first and strongest line of defense you have in preventing serious and possibly fatal injuries in an accident.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident, call an Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and determine your legal rights to a claim.