November 10, 2011
Say Yes to Life and Saving Money
As I sit at a red light, a car rushes past and collides with another vehicle in the intersection. I call 911 then, after a few minutes, an ambulance pulls up on the scene. The EMT pulled a man from his car; his head a bloody mess from the impact with the windshield. They put him in the ambulance, after a bit of trouble getting him on the stretcher, and rush him to the emergency room. Later that night while watching the six o’clock news I see an interview with the police chief; he states that the man died in the hospital. However, the driver likely would have lived if he would have been wearing his seat belt. With scenes such as this, it is evident that seat belt laws should be in effect as well as enforced. Vehicle fatalities have a big impact on mortality rates and insurance premiums; therefore, enforcing seat belt laws can have a positive effect on society.
Automobiles have progressed through the years, and have become faster, yet the faster you go the greater the impact when an accident occurs. Federal and State agencies have developed speed limits and other guidelines, which when enforced, help keep passengers safe. Even though these laws are in place, accidents still occur; however, when the proper precautions are taken, risks can be minimized. As technology progresses so will vehicles; therefore, safety will continue to be a major concern. It is up to the motorists to decide to wear a seat belt, yet law enforcement officers are the ones who are there to enforce seat belt laws. Seat belts are installed into every car and truck, but should we have to wear them? Every state has a different law about who does and does not have to wear them, but in the state of Indiana if you are in a car that is equipped with seat belts and anyone above the age of 14 you are required to wear a seat belt. Also, children must use the correct car seat for their weight until they reach 135 centimeters tall or their 12th birthday, whichever comes first. There are several other reasons that you do not need to wear a seat belt such as if you are a driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing, in a vehicle used for police, fire, and rescue services, a passenger in a trade vehicle and you are investigating a fault, driving a good vehicle on deliveries that is traveling no more than 50 meters between stops, or a licensed taxi driver who is ‘playing for hire’ or carrying passengers (Using, 1). If there is a reason that you cannot wear a seat belt due to medical reasons, your doctor must issue you a ‘Certificate of Exemption for Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing’. You must keep this in your car at all times and handy if a police officer pulls you over. There are strict seat belt laws world-wide but, according to statistics, they are hardly followed. Approximately 50% of lives will be saved in an accident if people wear seat belts. Seat belt safety statistics show that mostly the younger population between the age groups 16-35 is hardly found wearing seat belts. Seat belt facts also prove that 70% of the people wearing a seat belt have prevented injuries even on meeting with an accident. It is found that nearly 10,000 lives can be saved every year only by wearing a seat belt (Pandit 1). According to studies cited by the Independence Institute, “When subjects who normally did not wear seat belts were asked to do so, they were observed to drive faster, followed more closely, and braked later. In other words, people who are naturally cautious voluntarily choose to wear seat belts, and voluntarily drive safely. When reckless people are forced to wear seat belts, they “compensate” for the increased safety by driving more recklessly. Furthermore, no jurisdiction that has passed a seat belt law has shown evidence of a reduction in road accident death.”(Veksler 1) Seat belts were designed to save peoples’ lives, this only works if they are worn...