Have you ever gotten in your car and figured you didn’t need to buckle your seat belt because you were just headed up the street? If so, you aren’t alone. As HealthCanal.com reports, most drivers tend to buckle up more when they are going on a long trip as opposed to when they are staying close to home.
Unfortunately, our Montgomery car accident lawyers know that most accidents happen close to where you live rather than on long trips. This means that drivers who only wear their seat belts for longer journeys may be more likely to get into a crash without a belt on. This can significantly increase the risk of death in an auto accident.
Drivers Who Don’t Wear Seat Belts Set Themselves Up For Disaster
Recently, The Republic reported that more than half of all drivers killed in car accidents in Alabama were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.
The data on seat belt use and fatalities came from the Alabama Department of Transportation and relates to accidents that occurred in 2012. Of the 424 people who died in car accidents in vehicles with seat belts available, 251 people did not have their belts on at the time of the accident. Further, 59 percent of the 513 people who died in car accidents in 2012 were not wearing their seat belts at the time when the fatal crash happened.
Many of these people were likely involved in accidents close to where they lived, since drivers who stay nearby are more likely to skip the seat belt. In fact, researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute discovered that:
- 72.7 percent of occasional seat belt wearers buckled up on trips with an average speed of 30 miles per hour. Trips at this average speed were more likely to be journeys around town.
- 89 percent of occasional seat belt wearers buckled up on trips with an average speed of 50 miles per hour. These trips were more likely to be longer trips or road trips as opposed to casual trips around town.
The researchers used the drivers’ GPS devices to confirm that drivers who were traveling at the lower speeds were more likely to be traveling on local roads while drivers traveling at higher speeds were more likely to be traveling on interstates and going further away.
Researchers also indicated that drivers who rarely buckled up would do so if forced to by legal deterrents such as laws mandating the use of seat belts and giving law enforcement the authority to pull people over for failure to wear a belt.
In Alabama, people sitting in the front seat are required by state law to wear seat belts. Kids between the ages of 6 and 15 must also wear belts while children under the age of six must be in a federally approved child seat when in the car.
Alabama, therefore, tries to take steps to make drivers buckle up whether they are traveling nearby or going on a longer road-trip. Yet, many drivers fail to do so despite the laws and some of the drivers who chose not to buckle up pay for this decision with their lives.
If you were hurt in a car accident, call Allred & Allred P.C. at 334.396.9200 to speak with a Montgomery accident attorney today.
Bicycle Accidents Put Montgomery Kids at Risk, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, March 30, 2013
Tuscaloosa 5-Year-Old Killed in Pedestrian Collision, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog February 22, 2013