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Decline in Seatbelt Use is Worrying

According to new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelt use rates declined in 2020. Federal authorities are concerned that these low rates could continue through 2021 as well.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that there were 38,680 deaths in traffic accidents recorded across the country in 2020. Almost fifty percent of them involved motorists or passengers who were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.  Seatbelt use was found generally lower in rural as compared to urban areas.  The lack of seatbelt use in rural areas also meant a higher percentage of serious accidents or deaths from car accidents.

2020 was an extremely unusual year in terms of traffic safety. Traffic volumes dropped significantly, especially between March and July, typically some of the busiest as well as some of the riskier months of the year. However, even as traffic volumes dropped and transportation safety authorities believed that accident rates would also correspondingly drop, the very opposite happened. The emptier streets only led to an increase in dangerous driving behaviors, including speeding and drunk driving.

Now it appears that many motorists also chose to travel without buckling in last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the number of traffic accidents involving persons who were thrown from the vehicle during the accident increased by 20 percent in 2020, compared to the previous year. Being ejected from a vehicle is often an indicator that the person was not buckled in at the time of the accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also states that dangerous behaviors like speeding and drunk driving often go hand-in- hand with failure to wear seatbelts. As the numbers of such reckless driving behaviors increased last year, the incidence of unbelted driving and riding also increased.

Wearing a seatbelt is one of the easiest ways of preventing serious injuries in accidents. They help secure you during impact, and prevent you from being ejected from the vehicle. Ejection can result catastrophic injuries or even death. Seat belts are important not just for front seat occupants, but also for back seat passengers in an accident. Make sure that your passengers are all buckled, in before you begin driving. Georgia currently requires all adults to be buckled in, but adults travelling in the back seat are not legally required to buckle in. Only persons below the age of 17 riding in the back seat need to buckle in. However, it is important that you are buckled in when you are riding in the back seat regardless of whether there is a law that requires you to do so. It simply makes sense to get maximum protection for yourself.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Katz Personal Injury Lawyers represent persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accent, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine whether you have legal options to a claim for compensation. You might qualify for damages including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your legal rights to a claim.

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