Seat Belts are Life Savers

Topics: Seat belt, Seat belt legislation, Automobile safety Pages: 5 (1730 words) Published: October 17, 2013

Seat Belts are Life Savers
Lauren Walker
Kaplan University

Seat Belts are Life Savers
Someone is killed in an automobile crash every 13 minutes, but simply buckling a seat belt can save more than 11,000 lives each year (U.S. Department of Transportation, ND). Buckling a seat belt before driving or riding in any automobile should be just as common as brushing one’s teeth in the morning before leaving the house. A seat belt is the number one thing a person can use to prevent injuries, and even death when riding in a car. It takes just mere seconds to put it on, yet millions of people each year choose to risk their lives and ride without one. The United States needs to implement a country-wide law for seat belt usage to make sure that drivers and passengers wear a seat belt each and every time they are in a moving automobile. Unbelted occupants in passenger vehicles accounted for forty-two percent of motor vehicle crash deaths in 2007 (National Safety Council, 2010). While wearing a seat belt might not have saved one-hundred percent of the people in these accidents, it could have saved a large portion of them. Forty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, have mandatory seat belt laws (National Safety Council, 2010). The problem with seatbelt laws in the United States today is that they are not the same in each state. New Hampshire does not require adults to wear a seat belt, although there is a child passenger law that protects drivers and passengers under the age of 18 (Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, 2013). The major problem with not requiring occupants of a vehicle to wear a seatbelt is that this state is giving them an option and saying that there will not be any consequences for choosing to not wear a seat belt. Obviously, in all the other states, it is still an option to the driver or passengers in a vehicle, but if caught they know that they are going to face a fine and in some states other penalties, such as points on a driver’s license. (U.S. Department of Transportation, ND). Another problem with seat belt laws is that they are divided into primary and secondary categories. Thirty-three states have primary seat belt laws for drivers and passengers in the front seat, meaning that a law enforcement officer can pull you over just based on the fact that you are not wearing a seat belt. (Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, 2013). Out of those thirty-three states, sixteen have a primary seat belt law for riders in the back seat also, while four of the states have secondary laws and the remaining thirteen states have no requirements for adults in the back seat of the vehicle. (Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, 2013). The remaining sixteen states only have secondary laws in place for drivers, meaning that law enforcement can only cite a person for not wearing a seatbelt when there is another traffic infraction that they are also being cited for. (Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, 2013). Basically, if a person is pulled over for speeding and the officer issues them a ticket for speeding and they are not wearing a seat belt, the officer can then also issue a citation for not wearing a seat belt. On the other hand, if said person is following all traffic laws correctly, the officer could not just pull them over for simply not wearing their seatbelt. Wearing a seat belt can prevent tragic injuries and scarring. In a serious crash, a seat belt can stop a person from being thrown out of the car and decreases the chance of getting hurt by keeping you in place. (U.S. Department of Transportation, ND). Many people think that they do not necessarily need to wear a seat belt because they think that in the event of a crash that the air bag will save them. An air bag alone cannot keep someone from being seriously injured. Air bags and seat belts are designed to be used together because air bags alone are only twelve percent effective....

References: Governor’s Highway Safety Association. (2013). Seat belt laws. Retrieved on August 13, 2013
National Safety Council. (2010). Seat Belts: Your single most effective safety step. 35(2). 131-
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