Distracted Driver Accidents

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The Importance of Wearing a Seat Belt

Katie GesseckKatie Gesseck

Wearing a seat belt is incredibly important for drivers and passengers alike. While it has been ingrained in most people’s minds to wear a seat belt, there are still a great number of individuals who opt not to, despite the incredibly damaging effects not wearing a seat belt can have. In a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 50% of the 26,325 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in 2021 were not wearing a seat belt. This statistic is indicative of just how important wearing a seat belt is and how it can truly be the differentiating factor between life and death. 

Seat Belt Laws

Seat belts are not only encouraged to be worn for safety purposes, but they are also required by law. All states but New Hampshire have some kind of seat belt laws for front-seat occupants. While some states have laws that are less stringent for those in the back seat, all vehicle occupants should wear seat belts regardless. Failure to do so may result in citations and fines. 

Seat Belts Enhance Airbag Safety

Seat belts are designed to work in conjunction with airbags, not in lieu of. If you wear a seat belt properly, it will restrain you from hitting the airbag at full force and the airbag will instead act as a padded cushion. Thus, if you are not wearing a seat belt and get into an accident, an airbag can cause severe injury from the harsh impact.

Distributed Force of Impact 

Seat belts are designed to help distribute the impact of an accident, making usage of them even more crucial. They are designed in such a way that places the greatest forces of impact on the strongest parts of your body

Insurance Rates and Claims

If you are involved in a vehicle accident in which you were not wearing a seat belt, this may make it far more difficult to recover maximum compensation and you will likely receive far less as a result. Additionally, in states where you can be issued a ticket for not wearing a seat belt and it goes on your record, your insurance rate may increase by up to 3%.

The Right Way to Wear a Seat Belt

Wearing a seat belt is a great step in the right direction, however, wearing a seat belt correctly makes all the difference. To properly wear a seat belt, you want to ensure that the shoulder belt rests comfortably across your chest, and not too far above or below. Additionally, you should make sure the lap belt lies across your hips, not your stomach. Lastly, ensure that the shoulder belt is not behind your back or under your arm.

Steps To Take After an Accident

If you are injured in a car accident, the first thing you will want to do is seek medical attention and call 911 if necessary. If you are able to, you should try and document the scene of the accident and gather information from individuals involved, as well as any witnesses. Then, contact a San Antonio car accident lawyer who can discuss your legal options and help you recover the compensation you may be entitled to. A lawyer can help defend you in the event you were not wearing a seat belt.

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