Buckling up might sometimes make the difference between life and death, as it is the safest choice passengers and drivers can make. The stats show that the national use rate for seatbelts in 2021 was 90.4%, so it is safe to say that many understand its value. 

The consequences of not wearing a seatbelt while driving can range from a mild injury up to the inevitable death. In 2019, of the 22,215 passengers vehicle occupants killed, 47% were not wearing seatbelts. Every year, around 40,000 Americans are killed in motor vehicle crashes. Even if we combine all our wars, the death toll will never be comparable with the carnage happening on our roads. 


When a car crash occurs, the cost will always be high. Nevertheless, it will skyrocket when occupants aren’t wearing seatbelts because unbuckled victims sustain more severe injuries. According to the NHTSA, unbelted victims stay three-to-five times longer in a hospital, and their expenses cost two-to-seven more. 

Of course, when talking about injuries and accidents, we cannot leave Insurance Providers out of the conversation. These do not come cheap in the event of an injury caused because a seatbelt was not being worn. 

Failure to wear safety belts also burden taxpayers with around $137 billion every year, out of which $10 billion account for medical costs alone. Studies show that unrestrained victims are often underinsured, uninsured, or supported by the government through welfare, Medicaid, or Medicare. Also, drivers that refuse to wear a seatbelt tend to be less educated than those that do. 


side view of a woman with the seatbelt on driving her car

According to the National Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts reduce the risk of fatalities and severe injury by 50%. “Seatbelts are your first line of defense against injuries or death,” says Ricardo Martinez, NHTSA administrator. From implementation in 1975 to 1996, safety belts have saved 90,425 lives. 

The three-point safety-belt restraint, which includes a combination of the lap belt and shoulder-to-hip belt, “protects the internal organs in a crash, as it controls the forward motion of the body, and the accompanying rotation of the pelvis,” says Kenneth Mann, Ph.D., of UAB’s Biomedical Engineering Department. He says the device also minimizes the excessive neck motion and head contact, preventing head and neck injuries. 


Seat Belt laws are somewhat difficult to enforce depending on where you are. For instance, fatal crash rates in the southeast are 20 percent higher than in other parts of the country due to the high number of rural roads, which people use more than the interstate highways. Because of the low visibility on these secondary roads, a wreck is more severe than on a major highway, where people tend to use seatbelts more responsibly. 

In some states, seat-belt enforcement laws are “secondary”: officers can’t stop a driver specifically for not buckling up. Drivers must be detained for different violations and then be written up for a seatbelt violation ticket. 

There is also the matter of the Infringement of Rights. Some drivers complain about the discomfort of using a seatbelt, citing the chest strap, while others say clothing wrinkling is a significant factor in not waiting to use it. Some feel that seatbelt legislation infringes on their rights, and they should not be forced to wear them. 

According to seat-belt advocate groups, the truth is that requiring them to be used is no more of an infringement of personal rights than asking a driver to obey traffic signals or speed limits. These fall well within the government’s authority and obligation to protect its citizens. 

This article was brought to you by Kustom Signals, a leading provider of law enforcement speed enforcement and video solutions.

Categories : Police Culture

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