Whether you are involved in a motor vehicle collision in Rancho Bernardo or elsewhere in Southern California, you may already know just how important seat belts are to preventing serious and fatal injuries. Yet many vehicle occupants still do not buckle up, especially when they are sitting in the back seat of a car or SUV. A recent article in Bankrate addresses the history of seat belts and motor vehicle safety and considers who far we have come by 2021. We want to discuss some of those considerations with you here and to urge you to seek advice from a Rancho Bernardo car accident attorney if you need help filing a claim for financial compensation.
Long History of Motor Vehicles and Limited Seat Belt Use
According to the Bankrate article, seat belts have been around for much longer than you might think. To be sure, this safety device actually dates back to the 19th century—long before a majority of Americans owned any kind of vehicle—yet they have not been used as widely as many safety advocates would like. Indeed, by 1980, only about 10% of Americans reported that they wore seat belts when driving a car or occupying a passenger seat in a vehicle. Those numbers improved significantly in the late twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. By 2019, just over 90% of Americans report that they wear a seat belt whether driving or riding in an automobile.
Yet that number still leaves about 10% of the American population, and those people make up a startling number of the vehicle accident fatalities reported in recent years. Indeed, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that more than 37,000 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions in 2017, and approximately 50% of those people who sustained deadly injuries were not wearing a seat belt. The NHTSA predicts that more than 2,500 of those people would have survived the collision if they had buckled up as recommended.
Seat Belts Save Lives
It is critical to know that seat belts do save lives, and it is essential to buckle up. According to the NHTSA, between the years 1960 and 2012, seat belts saved nearly 330,000 lives in motor vehicle collisions. That figure does not even take into account the effects of improved safety devices and tools in automobiles, such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.
Studies suggest that seat belts can reduce the risk of death in a collision for front seat occupants by about 45%, and that seat belts in the front seat can reduce the risk of a serious nonfatal injury by about 50%. Younger Americans aged 34 and under are less likely than older drivers and vehicle occupants. Accordingly, future safety initiatives may benefit from focusing on motorists and occupants in that age group, according to Bankrate.
Contact a Rancho Bernardo Auto Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries in a motor vehicle collision, you should seek advice from our Rancho Bernardo car accident attorneys about filing a claim for compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist you with your lawsuit.
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