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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Wear My Seatbelt Do You

After my accident in my Big Rig it was decided that if it wasn't for the belt I most likely would have been ejected and thrown out in front of a 80,000 pound rig and run over. I do wear my belt and am thankful for it now.
Many of my peers even in their professional capacity do not wear them and refuse to see the light.
While I don't know if this will change any minds you can't blame me for trying.

Do Seat Belts Prevent Injuries?

Although over half of the people killed in car crashes do not wear seat belts, many people still refuse to wear belts. Some people simply don't believe that a seat belt can make a difference. Sure, in some cases a crash can be so severe that fatalities or serious injuries occur regardless of a seat belt. Nonetheless, the evidence that seat belts prevent injuries and death is overwhelming enough that no passenger should ever ride in a car without a seat belt.

Exact seat belt statistics vary based on the type of vehicle, the type of seat belt, the position of impact, and whether the driver is a front or backseat passenger. A National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) survey, conducted between 1986 and 1999, showed that seat belts prevent death and injury most in rollovers and rear impact crashes. However, even in nearside and side impact collisions, seat belts alone were found to reduce the incidence of fatalities.

Many accident injuries are caused by the passenger's seat belt. Improper fastening of the seat belt or seat belt malfunction are common factors behind these injuries. The type of seat belt injury a passenger receives depends on the seat belt design and how the seat belt was worn. Despite these facts, wearing a seat belt is still much safer than failing to buckle up. The key is to sit upright, wear the entire seat belt and fasten the seat belt securely.

Seat belt injuries are very common during a car accident. While the car comes to a sudden stop when a collision occurs, the passengers remain in motion. The passengers must also come to a stop, either by seat belt restraint or by colliding with something else. Seat belt injuries generally occur when the force of the accident is relatively severe or the seat belt is used improperly.

Do seat belts really save lives?

According to the NHTSA, seat belt use has saved more than 135,000 lives since 1975 (an estimated 11,197 in 1999). Research has shown that seat belt use is responsible for a decrease in the chance of fatal injury while in passenger cars and light trucks by 45-65%. Infants properly restrained in child safety seats have a decreased fatality rate of 71%, and toddlers have a decreased fatality rate of 54%. Unfortunately, 30% of children are still not restrained properly.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and The National Safety Belt Coalition both publish safety information for proper use of child seats and safety tips for protection of children that no longer use child seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also publishes child safety seat RECALL information as well as child safety belt laws.

The simple answer is, yes, they do. Personally, I wear them, that's my choice, although I don't believe the government should tell us whether we have to or not. My wife wears them and so do my kids. I've been involved in a few accidents and have had the seat belt on every time. One example is while I was driving a 1996 Nissan Maxima, a Jeep Grand Cherokee ran a stop sign and I broadsided it. Granted the Maxima had air bags that did deploy, but just because the vehicle had airbags didn't cause me to not wear a belt. The belt restrained me in the seat and the air bag aided as well, that's why air bags are referred to as a 'supplemental restraint system'. Every accident is different though. Speed, weather conditions, traffic conditions, all factor into an accident. In the case of a rollover, seat belts keep you in one place so that you won't be thrown around like a rag doll as the car is tumbling. I've heard people say that they want to be 'thrown clear' in a case like that. Unfortunately, there's not many openings in a car when the doors are closed. I've hauled away many vehicles from accident scenes and it always makes me feel a little better seeing the operator and their passengers be able to walk away from a wreck. A friend of mine is a police chief and he, like me, has been to many scenes, most come out ok, but there's the grim ones as well. Like I said, I personally wear them and I always have. My logic is that if they come with the car, you paid for them. The radio came with it too and most people use that. Just my opinion on the seat belt subject.

Oh yes. lots of people's lives are spared because of wearing seatbelts. I've met people who have lived through a total collision. They said if I didn't wear my seatbelt, they wouldn't be alive today.

Are Seat Belts Important?

Many people always say to themselves or to others that I am a good driver and it will not happen to me. Your good driving record will certainly help you avoid accidents. But even if you're a good driver, a bad driver may still hit you. Even if you had the split-second timing to do this, the force of the impact would shatter the arm or leg you used to brace yourself.

"I'm afraid the belt will trap me in the car." Statistically, the best place to be during an accident is in your car. If you're thrown out of the car, you're 25 times more likely to die. And if you need to get out of the car in a hurry - as in the extremely tiny percent of accidents involving fire or submergence - you can get out a lot faster if you haven't been knocked unconscious inside your car.

Research has found that lap and shoulder seat belts, when used correctly, reduce the risk for fatal injury to front seat occupants by 45 percent. Seat belts prevent ejection from a vehicle. Seventy-five percent of the motor vehicle occupants killed in 2005 were totally ejected from the vehicle.

Older children often place a seat belt under their arm or behind their back because the seat belt does not fit correctly and cuts into their neck. This gives the child no upper body support and puts extreme pressure on the abdomen and low back, leading to life threatening injuries. This is an automatic sign that the child still needs to be in a booster seat. Booster seats are designed to lift kids up to fit the adult seat belt.

I know many of you don't like to hear it, take from an old trucker; Wear Your Seat Belt!
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