Buckle Your Belt This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for seat belt safety. If you are among the thousands of Americans hitting the highway this holiday season, remember to buckle up. Wearing your seatbelt significantly improves your chances of survival during a car accident. 

Fasten-Your-Seat-belt-Words-Seat-belt

The statistics paint a very clear picture.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016 seatbelts saved an estimated 15,000 lives. Using a seatbelt reduces deaths and serious injury by as much as 50%. 

Even with clear data to prove the importance of seat belt safety, especially during the holidays, about 25% of adults admitted that they do not buckle up when they are riding in the backseat. That number drops even lower when it comes to rideshare services like Uber or Lyft. 

Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 5-34. Despite the number of adults that openly concede that they don’t always wear seat belts, usage increased by 5% between 2002 and 2008, from 80% up to 85%. 

Follow these simple tips to ensure that you, your family, and any passengers you may have in your vehicle are safe this holiday season. 

  • Always buckle up, no matter if you are the driver or the passenger
  • Use your seat belt regardless of how far you’re traveling  
  • If you have small children riding in your vehicle, it is imperative that they are fastened safely into a car seat and/or properly buckled up
  • Check for age, height and weight guidelines for how to properly strap-in the younger ones
  • Be the responsible one. Make sure that all your passengers are buckled up before agreeing to drive 

Child Safety Guidelines for the Holidays 

Aside from the elderly, children are arguably the most vulnerable passengers. Not only because of their delicate frames, but because they need the help of a knowledgeable adult to properly get them strapped in for a car ride. As we previously mentioned, depending on a child’s weight and height, they require different measures to keep them safe during a car trip. 

  • For optimal safety, infants and toddlers should be placed in the backseat, buckled into a rear-facing car seat, until they have reached the maximum weight and height limits outlined in the manual of their car seat. Typically until ages 2-4. 
  • Be sure to thoroughly read the owner’s manual or any instructions that came along with your car seat.
  • When your child passenger outgrows their rear-facing car seat, upgrade to a forward facing car seat until at least age 5.
  • After graduating from the forward facing car seat it is time to transition into a booster seat until the seat belt fits them correctly. Booster car seats should come with a belt positioning feature to ensure that the child is snug and safe. 
  • Whether in a booster seat or not, the lap belt should go across the upper thigh, not the stomach. And the seat belt should rest across the chest, not the neck.  
  • The desired fit of a seat belt usually occurs when children reach 4 feet 9 inches tall, around ages 9 to 12 years of age. 
  • Vehicles, car seats and booster chairs all differ. Be sure to read the instructions in detail to fully understand how to properly secure all the passengers in your vehicle, no matter the age. 

Seat Belt Safety Myths 

There are a handful of myths regarding seat belt safety and when and when not to wear your seat belt. The best rule of thumb, if your car is in motion, all occupants should be buckled up. 

Myth #1 – If you have airbags you don’t need to wear your seat belt. 

  • FALSE: The safest way to ride in a car is to be buckled up. The airbags are merely another safety measure and should not be solely relied on to keep you safe in the event of an accident. 

Myth #2 – Seat belts can hinder your escape in an underwater crash or in an active fire. 

  • FALSE: Car accidents involving water or fire only account for about 1% of all crashes. If you aren’t wearing your seat belt, you run the risk of being knocked unconscious. This will make it nearly impossible for you to come-to with enough time to escape. Pro-tip, keep a rescue escape tool in your glove box or as a keychain. These simple devices have a concealed razor for easily cutting through seat belts, and a two-sided hammer to break through the glass so you can escape in an underwater scenario. 

Myth #3 – You don’t need to wear your seat belt when you’re traveling short distances.  

  • ABSOLUTELY FALSE: This is a very dangerous myth. Studies show that most fatal car accidents occur within 25 miles of your home, at speeds under 40 mph. 

Myth #4 – It isn’t required or important for men to wear seat belts. 

  • FALSE: This myth is absurd. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Young men are most at risk. In 2017, male passengers ages 18 to 35 that were not buckled up accounted for 60% of the fatalities. 

Buckle up & Be Safe This Holiday 

With so many people traveling this holiday, no matter if you are at the helm of a vehicle or a passenger, it is absolutely important that everyone buckles up. Road conditions are worsened by winter weather and more people drive impaired during the holiday months. That’s why it is especially vital we take every possible safety precaution seriously and encourage those around us to put on their seat belts properly. 

Rear belt use is notoriously lower than that of front seat belt use. And while most states require the use of a seat at all times, 31 states DO NOT require passengers to buckle up if they are in the back seat.  

It is true that newer vehicles have been built to make the front seat safer, but that isn’t a good enough reason to not wear your seatbelt. As millions of Americans take to the roads this holiday season, it is categorically imperative that we promote seat belt safety and ensure that our friends, loved ones, and families are kept safe going into the new year. 

Not all personal injury attorneys are created equal. The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani cares about your safety. We are here to help you if you are injured at no fault of your own. Just Call Jacob: 1.888.952.2952