Myths About Wearing Seatbelts
When you get behind the wheel of a car you automatically increas your risk of accident or death to some extent. To be sure, car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in the United States, and even the safest of drivers often become accident victims.
There are several things that you can do to decrease your risk of collision and injury, including driving a safer vehicle, paying more attention when behind the wheel, and of course, wearing your seatbelt. Unfortunately, while seatbelts are known to save lives, there are still several myths surrounding their use that may hinder people’s desire to buckle up. Here are some common myths about seatbelts and the truths that you should know:
Myth #1: Wearing a Seatbelt is Optional
If you think that you don’t need to wear a seatbelt because buckling up is optional in Alabama, think again – Alabama law requires that all drivers and passengers in the front seat of a motor vehicle wear a seatbelt; if you don’t, you can get a traffic ticket! All persons who are transporting children ages 15 and under are also must ensure that the children are properly restrained. For children under age six or under 40 pounds, this means appropriate booster or car seats. For children 40 lbs./six years of age through 15, this means seatbelts are mandatory.
Myth #2: Wearing a Seatbelt Won’t Save My Life
If you aren’t buckling up because you don’t think that wearing your seatbelt will save your life, you couldn’t be more wrong. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that seatbelts reduce the risk of death in a car accident by 45 percent, and reduce the risk of significant injury by 50 percent. Statistics also show that most drivers and passengers who are killed in motor vehicle collisions are unrestrained at the time of impact.
Myth # 3: I Don’t Need a Seatbelt if I’m Not Traveling Far
If you’re only driving a short distance and don’t plan on driving very fast, you may think, “I really don’t need to buckle up for this trip.” But did you know that 75 percent of all crashes occur within 25 miles of home and on roads with a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour or less? This means that the risk of collision may be greatest when you’re just taking those short, routine trips when your guard is relaxed, and you don’t think you need your seatbelt. Buckling up is always the smart choice, regardless of the distance or speed you’re traveling.
Myth #4: My Seatbelt Will Trap Me if I’m in a Crash
The fear of being trapped in a vehicle that is involved in an underwater crash or collision that results in fire is reasonable; being trapped in a vehicle would be terrifying. However, your fear of being trapped should not prevent you from wearing your seatbelt. This is because statistically speaking, the chances of being in an underwater crash are very low – only .5 percent of crashes involve fire or water. Seatbelts in modern cars are also designed to release upon command, which reduces the risk of the belt being jammed and trapping an individual.
Myth #5: I’m a Safe Driver – I Don’t Need My Seatbelt
Again, even if you are the safest driver in the world (which chances are you’re not), you never know how someone else may operate their vehicle. In fact, you could be in your vehicle stopped or parked and be hit by a negligent driver – you never know what could happen.
Wear Your Seatbelt Anytime You’re in a Car
Anytime that you’re in a motor vehicle, you need to be wearing your seatbelt. At the law offices of Smith & McGhee, P.C., we hope that you’ll always buckle up for optimal safety.
If you are involved in a crash in Alabama, buckled or not, and suffer injures, our law firm can represent you. To schedule a consultation with our legal team, please visit our law office, send us a message, or call us directly at 334-708-3158. Consultations are offered free of charge.