Articles Tagged with Seatbelts

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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.

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In a recent criminal case in Georgia involving a hit-and-run accident, the court did not allow evidence that the car crash victim was not wearing a seat belt when he was ejected from his vehicle after impact and died.   The court stated that the victim’s failure to wear his seat belt was not relevant in determining the cause of his death.

Georgia law requires that all persons in the front seat of a passenger vehicle wear a seat belt.  The seat belt law applies to all occupants in any motor vehicle, including pickup trucks, vans, sport utility vehicles, and any vehicle designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers.

We all know that seat belts are one of the first lines of defense to protect you from injury while in a motor vehicle.  This is especially true in rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents and head-on collisions.  Wearing a seat belt is crucial in avoiding serious injury in such types of accidents.

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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.

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Statistics show that seatbelt usage rates for adults riding in the backseat of a car are much lower than for those in the front seat.  Unfortunately, far too many adult passengers believe that buckling up when they are riding in the backseat is not always necessary.

According to a recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4 out of 5 backseat passengers believe that seatbelts are unnecessary on short trips or while riding in a taxi. Backseat passengers have a false sense of security and believe that they are safer when they are seated in the back seat and therefore don’t need to wear a seatbelt.  Unfortunately, these statistics hold true in the Atlanta area as well.

Obviously, that logic is flawed.  Every person in a passenger vehicle is at risk of injuries in an accident, regardless of where they are sitting in a car. Riding in the backseat can be just as safe as riding in the front seat, unless you’re not wearing a seatbelt. A few decades ago, when auto safety technologies were not as cutting-edge as they are now, front seat passengers had a much higher risk of dying in an accident. However, since the introduction of advanced airbag systems and other safety technologies, safety for front seat passengers and drivers has increased dramatically.

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