Essay on The Importance of Wearing a Seatbelt
971 Words4 Pages
The Importance of Wearing a Seatbelt
We have all heard the excuses before, "It's uncomfortable, I'm only going around the corner", I'd rather be thrown out of a car than be stuck in a seatbelt," and my favorite, "I'm a good driver I don't need to wear one." Well you may be a good driver but there are situations beyond your control such as bad weather, road conditions and not to mention other drivers that can affect your safety. Seat belts can mean the difference between life and death in an auto accident. Wearing a seat belt every time you enter a vehicle is not only the smart thing to do it is the right thing because it saves lives, it's the law and it will save you money.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for people…show more content…
For the people who use the excuse that "They are just going around the corner" should realize that 80% of traffic fatalities occur within a 25-mile radius of your home and at a speed of 40 miles an hour. Buckling up to drive around the block is probably the best time to do so. Everyone knows that car crashes can cause death; yet because people do not buckle up all the time thousands of people still die in traffic crashes yearly. Seatbelts can save your life in a crash and can reduce your risk of a serious injury. Seat belts keep drivers and passengers from being ejected through windows or doors. This is important because your chances of being killed are five times greater if you are thrown from the vehicle. Thousands of people who die in car crashes each year might still be alive today if they had only been wearing their seat belts.
Wearing a seat belt isn't just a good idea; it's the law and many states conduct heightened enforcement of their seat belt laws. Forty-nine states, all except New Hampshire have mandatory safety belt laws. In most states, these laws cover front seat occupants only, although belt laws in 16 jurisdictions including New York cover all rear seat occupants also. New York is one of 19 jurisdictions where belt use laws are standard, or primary, meaning police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations. In 17 states including New York the safety belt defense is allowed, meaning damages collected by someone in a crash may be reduced
The facts don't talk, they shout:
- Out of any driving demographic, teen drivers are the least likely to buckle up. This despite having the highest accident rate out of any other driving demographic per 100,000 drivers.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds in the United States. The majority of these deaths involve unbuckled teens, drivers, and passengers.
- Use of a seat belt is the single most effective means of reducing fatal and non-fatal injuries in motor vehicle accidents.
- When employed, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45%.
Yet, despite these alarming statistics, teens continue to ignore the grim facts after they get a driver's license or driver's permit. According to a research poll taken by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teens cited seat belts as being "potentially harmful" as their main reason not wearing them.
To improve awareness, all states across the country have been ramping up seat belt laws.
Seat Belt Safety Laws Aimed at Teen Drivers
- There are 32 states, including the District of Columbia, have primary seat belt laws. This means law enforcement can pull you over for not wearing a seat belt. The fines vary, ranging from $10 in Wisconsin to $120 in Connecticut.
- There are 17 states have secondary seat belt laws. This means law enforcement cannot specifically pull you over for being unbuckled. There must be another reason (broken headlight, speeding, etc., etc.) before you can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. Some of these states, however, make it a primary offense for teen drivers. The fines for secondary offenses range from $10 in Arizona to $71 in Colorado.
- In some states, a primary or secondary offense is determined by whether an unbuckled passenger is sitting in the front seat or back seat.
- New Hampshire is the lone state without a seat belt law for teens.
Seat belt laws prove effective. According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) teens who reside in states with primary seat belt laws are 12% more likely to buckle up when driving, and 15% more likely when riding as passengers.
To learn more about the teen seat belt use in your state, check out our page on safety laws.
What kind of seatbelt laws does your state have? Do you willingly abide by them?