Each year, the nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign encourages commuters to always wear their seat belts. As of this writing, every state and the District of Columbia – except for New Hampshire – have some type of seat belt statute requiring front-seat occupants to buckle up. Twenty-nine states have laws that also require back seat occupants to wear their seat belts. The message seems to be working. According to 2018 statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use was at an all-time high, at just under 90 percent.
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Tragically, despite the widespread use of seat belts, almost half of the more than 37,000 people killed every year in vehicle accidents are found to not be wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. The NHTSA estimates that almost 15,000 lives could be saved each year if vehicle occupants always used their seat belts. Front seat seat belt usage has definitely increased, but back seat seat belt usage is still too low.
So, what can be done to convince people to buckle up?
According to recent studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, one effective way could be audible seat belt reminders. These studies concluded that approximately 1,500 lives could be saved each year using these reminders and countless more injuries avoided. With increased seat belt usage, the nation’s goal of zero accident fatalities could be reached sooner than originally calculated.
The IIHS examined several different types of audible seat belt reminder systems, looking at how each system performed and how effective they were compared to gear interlock systems. Systems included one developed by BMW which has a 100-second reminder, a system by Chevrolet that uses three alert reminders lasting seven seconds each, and Subaru’s system which is nonstop and only stops when the occupant buckles their seatbelt.
The system developed by Chevrolet has little to no effect on occupant’s seat belt usage. Both the system developed by BMW and the one by Subaru resulted in a 30 percent increase in occupants using their seat belts. Gear interlock systems increased usage by approximately 15 percent.
Seat belts have been around for decades and compared to some of the more recent technological safety equipment advances – such as lane departure warning and automated forward collision control systems – may seem old-fashioned. Yet time and time again they show to be one of the most effective tools in saving lives, preventing car accident victims from being bounced around a crashing vehicle or ejected completely.
North Carolina Crashes
Unfortunately, victims may still be injured even if they are wearing seat belts. If you have been injured in a crash caused by another driver, contact a North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what damages you may be able to pursue in a car accident claim.
The Carolinas personal injury attorneys from Shapiro & Appleton have successfully advocated for many distracted driving accident victims in obtaining the financial compensation they deserved, including medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other losses their injuries have caused. Call our office today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.