Seat Belts and Safety: Why Belting in Is Better Than Being Thrown Out

Buckling up is the easiest and most effective way to protect yourself in a car accident. Although many people wouldn’t think of riding in the car unbuckled, seat belt use dropped 3% from 2012 to 2014 in Texas, making the need to examine seat belt safety more important than ever.

Texas Seat Belt and Child Restraint Laws

In Texas, failure to wear a seatbelt while driving or riding in a car is against the law for anyone over the age of eight. This is also a primary law, meaning drivers can be pulled over for no other reason than refusing to buckle up. Primary seat belt laws have been shown to increase seat belt usage as much as 10% over states with secondary laws, and are commonly credited with the saving of thousands of lives each year.

Why It’s Important to Buckle Up for Every Ride

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are a leading cause of death for people under the age of 30 in the United States. The effectiveness of a seat belt is dependent on its regular use, but also the proper use and the correct fit. If a passenger buckles a lap belt, but puts the shoulder restraint behind his back, he will not get the full protection of the safety restraint, placing himself and others at risk.

In the event of an accident, a non-restrained driver or passenger is more likely to:

  • Be killed in a crash. Lap and shoulder belts can reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent and reduce the risk of critical injuries by 50 percent
  • Be thrown from the vehicle. Seat belts prevent occupants from being thrown from the vehicle, which is often fatal.
  • Injure others. A non-restrained passenger can cause severe injuries to others in the vehicle as his body is tossed through the cabin.

Some drivers and passengers resist using safety belts or shoulder restraints due to discomfort or the perceived risks of injury in a crash. While seat belts can sometimes cause minor injuries during a collision, the benefits of being buckled in far outweigh the risks.

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