Over the years there have been numerous campaigns surrounding seat belt use and the associated statistics illustrating how the use of a safety belt can enhance chances for survival after a car accident. To better understand the role of seat belts as they relate to accidents, we need to look at what actually happens to the vehicle and its occupants during a crash.
One single car crash involves three different collisions or points of impact for the vehicle and its occupants:
Wearing a safety belt does not alleviate all of the potential damage. It does, however, lessen the severity of the damage by absorbing the impact of the collision in the areas where your body is best able to withstand it; the bones of your hips, shoulders, and chest. Because of the ‘give’ of the seat belt, our body does not come to an immediate stop upon impact.
Data from a University of Washington study shows that the use of a shoulder harness in conjunction with a lap belt reduces risk of death by 86 percent. Though some believe that air bags can be used in place of safety belts, additional data shows that a deploying air bag can be dangerous, and in some instances, fatal. The seat belt is intended to keep occupants far enough away from the airbags to protect them from sudden deployment and potential injury.
Nationwide Seat Belt Use Data
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has compiled and published its overall National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) for seatbelt use in 2014. According to the data drawn from the report, seatbelt use remained consistent 2014 as compared to 2013 with 87% of occupants using safety restraints when in a vehicle. It should be mentioned that the trend has been on the rise since 1995.
Additional survey findings include:
Traffic speed, traffic density, and weather conditions also play a role in the use of seat belts:
Seat Belt Use
Seat Belt Use
Seat Belt Use
One thing that is clear from the national findings is that people are more likely than not to use a restraint system when operating or occupying a vehicle. Data continues to suggest countless lives saved as a result of safety restraints and law enforcement efforts to ensure drivers and passengers take precautions to protect themselves in the event of a collision.
The attorneys at Steinger, Iscoe, & Greene have seen far too often the aftermath of accidents. Undoubtedly, injuries suffered by victims not using a restraint system trend higher in injury severity. We have seen the effects car accidents have on the lives of those impacted and how injuries can serve to be completely life-changing. With this in mind, we encourage our community to do everything possible to be as protected as possible if you are involved in an accident. Our firm is here to assist post-accident and our advocates offer free, no obligation case evaluations.
The Steinger, Iscoe, & Greene family wishes you safe and uneventful travels, hoping that you use all tools at your disposal to keep yourself and your family safe.