National Seat Belt Day
There is no question about it: seat belts save lives. Seat belts are the single most important safety feature of a vehicle and are your best protection in the event of an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives in 2017.
Every November 14th, we celebrate National Seat Belt Day to highlight the importance of wearing seat belts. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Volvo, and Uber created the day to mark the 60th anniversary of the invention of the three-point seat belt.
Not only are seat belts a huge safety benefit, they are also required by law in California. Make it a habit to wear your seat belt and encourage others to do the same. It could be the best decision you ever make.
History of Seat Belt Use in America
The history of seat belts in the U.S. spans centuries. American Edward J. Claghorn received the first seat belt patent in 1885. In 1930, physicians recommended lap belts to be used on public transport.
Everything changed in 1959 when a Swedish engineer hired by Volvo invented the three-point seat belt, which has now become the standard in all motor vehicles. Subsequently, in 1968, the first federal seat belt law was introduced, which required all vehicles (except buses) to be fitted with seat belts. In 1984, New York became the first state to require primary seat belt use, and after that, many other states followed.
In 1993, California made history as the first state to enforce primary seat belt laws, which allow police officers to stop and ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt. The current average seat belt use rate in the U.S. is 91.6%, while in California it is 97%.
California’s Mandatory Seat Belt Law
Under California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law, all drivers and passengers are required to wear seat belts. The law applies to anyone who is 16 years of age or older, regardless of where they are sitting.
Child safety seat laws require all children under age 2 to be secured in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 pounds or more or is 40” or taller. Children under age 8 must be secured in car seats or booster seats in the back seat of the vehicle. Children who are are 4’9″ or taller may be secured in a booster seat and must also wear a seat belt.
Not wearing a seat belt can result in a fine of up to $162 and $490 for children under 16.
Seat Belt Safety Facts
Seat belts are crucial to surviving a car accident. You can avoid one of the most fatal outcomes of a crash, being ejected from the vehicle, by wearing safety belts. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show the benefits of wearing seat belts and the risks of not wearing them:
- From 1975 through 2017, seat belts have saved an estimated 374,276 lives.
- In 2021, half of passenger vehicle occupants who died in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
- Seat belts reduce fatalities by 45% and prevent severe injuries by 50% for front seat passengers.
- Air bags alone won’t protect passengers and drivers. An air bag can seriously injure or even kill someone who is not properly buckled up.
- Seat belt use is lower in the back seat than up front. In 2021, 60% of back seat passengers who died in accidents were unrestrained.
No matter where you sit in a vehicle or how far you are going, it is important to wear your seat belt every time you get in a car. Wearing a seat belt can make the difference between life and death in a crash.
Wearing Seat Belts Correctly
A seat belt can only protect you if you wear it correctly. If worn incorrectly, it will fail to prevent harm and can even cause injuries in a crash. Follow these steps to ensure that you and your family wear seat belts properly:
- Sit upright with your back against the seat and your feet on the floor. Improper seating positions reduce the effectiveness of a seat belt and may result in injury.
- Pull the seat belt across your chest and over your shoulder. NEVER place the seat belt under your arm or behind your back.
- Adjust the belt so that it is snug and comfortable. The shoulder strap should run across your collarbone and the lap belt should rest across your hips.
- Check that the belt is not twisted or loose.
- Remember, “Click It or Ticket.”
Award-Winning California Personal Injury Lawyers
At The Law Offices of Daniel Kim, your safety and well-being is always important to us. We will always advocate for seat belt use because we know that seat belts save lives.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident in California, our experienced personal injury team can help you obtain the highest compensation possible. Our Orange County personal injury law firm represents Californians injured due to the negligence of another. Even if you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, you may still be able to file a claim.
This National Seat Belt Day, set a good example for your family and friends – always buckle up, no matter where you are going!CONTACT US