According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 35,647 people were killed as a result of car accidents, making car accidents the leading cause of death in the United States. Many more people suffer serious injuries as a result of car accidents and more than 2.2 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as a result of being injured in car and truck crashes in 2012. So what could be done to help?
According to the NHTSA in these accidents seatbelts increase your chances of surviving an accident by 45%. Despite this information the NHTSA reports 53% of those who died in car accidents in 2009 were not wearing their seatbelts. Of all persons who have been killed in crashes the least likely to wear a seatbelt are teens age 13 to 20 years of age. In 2012 approximately 55% of the people in that age group who were killed were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Clearly seatbelt use is lower in States with no seatbelt laws as compared to States with primary enforcement law.
To increase their use among adults it is necessary for States to have primary enforcement seatbelt laws which increase use and reduce deaths. Rates of seatbelt use are 9% higher in primary enforcement states than secondary states. These laws need to be enforced and the public needs to be educated with regard to making seatbelt use a social norm.
Thirty-four states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have primary seatbelt laws for front seat occupants. Fifteen states have secondary laws. Secondary seatbelt laws require the law enforcement officers to issue a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt only when there is another citable traffic infraction.
With regard to rear seats, 28 states, D.C., Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have laws requiring their use by all rear seat passengers. In 17 of these states, D.C., Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands the law is primary. For an accurate listing of seatbelt laws as of January, 2016 see this CDC report.
All states should have primary enforcement laws for both front and rear seats in order to encourage the citizens of their states to wear their seatbelts and save lives. Additionally, please wear your seatbelt.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in an automobile or truck accident due to the negligence or lack of care of another, contact the experienced automobile/truck accident attorneys at the law firm of William W. Hurst. You can contact us for a free case evaluation and consultation and we’ll give you tips, information and other supporting advice for your case. Should you decide that we should represent you we will do this on a contingency basis which means that there is no fee unless we recover for you.