Without a doubt, the use of seat belts can prevent injury and death. According to the National Safety Council, seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives from 2004 to 2008, proving that one click is worth the effort.
The good news is that seat belt use is on the rise; it averages 88 percent nationally (compared to only 69 percent in 1998). However, there are still groups less likely to wear seat belts, including teens, commercial drivers, people driving at night, people who have been drinking, commercial and pick-up truck drivers, and males in rural areas.
Why Buckle Up Every Time?
A common misconception is that accidents are less likely to happen while traveling short distances. Accidents can happen at any time, regardless of distance or speed. Wearing a seat belt every time you’re in the car greatly reduces your chances of injury or death in the event of an accident.
Seat belts have numerous benefits, including:
- Preventing bodily trauma caused by being thrown into an object or from the car at a greatly accelerated force.
- Protecting the front-seat passenger by reducing the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent.
- In the event of vehicle submersion, assisting your escape by stabilizing your body as you try to open a door or break a window (initially, keep the belt attached).
State Seat Belt Laws
Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have mandatory seat belt laws (the exception is New Hampshire). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a state-by-state map of seat belt laws.
At the Medical Center of Plano, we urge our patients to take safety precautions when driving. If you’re in an accident and need emergency care, we’re here to help. Our emergency department boasts low ER wait times, so you can count on fast, effective treatment when you need it most.
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