Defensive Driving

Seat Belts Save Lives

I was reminded the other day of how important seat belts are. While traveling on the highway I observed the minivan in front of me that seemed have a lot of action going on inside. It was apparent to anyone in the vicinity that none of the 3 children in the passenger or back seat were wearing their seat belts. As I watched in astonishment I saw them hopping from one seat to another and generally causing chaos. What was this parent thinking?

kids no belt

In 2012 about 12,174 people lived because they wore seat belts in Texas. An additional 3,031, age 5 and older could have lived if only using a seat belt. Those are unbelievable numbers for something that is so easy to do.

In Texas we know it is against the law to not wear a seat belt. The Click It or Ticket Campaign to enforce seat belt laws has saved thousands of lives each year. It is not conjecture that seat belts save lives, it is fact. What could possibly keep an intelligent human being from using a seat belt? Here are some answers commonly given:

*”It is uncomfortable”. Compare this discomfort to spending months in a hospital or learning to walk again. Seems like a small price to pay.

*”I have an airbag”. Airbags are designed to work with seat belts, not instead of them. Airbags increase the effectiveness of seat belts by 40%. And if you don’t have side bags then the seat belt plays an even bigger role in keeping you safe.

*”I am only going down the road”. 80% of traffic fatalities happen within 40 miles of home.

*”I am a safe, careful driver”. Maybe so, but are all other drivers?

*”I will just brace myself”. You may think so but a 50/mph crash has the impact of falling from three floors.

*”A seat belt will trap me in the car if I crash”. That is exactly where you want to be – in your car. If you get ejected during an accident you are 25 times more likely to die.

Take the time and the little bit of effort to use a seat belt for yourself and your children. It is not only the law it is the smart thing to do. And if you need more information about seat belt safety or other driving topics, visit our Driving Resources section!


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