Seatbelts save lives. This is a proven fact that researchers have shown to be accurate time and time again. The rate of car accidents in this country is absolutely insane. In the early 20th century, when the automobile industry was just getting on its feet, there were only four registered cars in the city of St. Louis, and two of them still managed to crash into each other. Seat belts weren’t even offered in cars at that point, and weren’t available until the 1950s when Ford launched them as a luxurious add-on.
Why Wear Seatbelts?
Seatbelts have been standard in cars for more than 50 years, yet there are still some who just don’t want to wear them. The problem with this is that seatbelts really do save lives, and so the wearing of seatbelts has become quite the public safety issue. The latest initiative to get people to buckle up comes straight from the federal government, with a national click it or ticket campaign that is designed to incentivize people to buckle up before getting on the road. The idea is that if the risk of a serious car accident isn’t going to be enough to get you to buckle up, then hopefully the threat of a pretty hefty fine will convince you, instead.
Across the country, police officers are instructed to spot people who are driving without their seatbelt and pull them over. The ticket for a seatbelt violation is over $100, but that is nothing compared to the average medical costs of someone who survives a car accident where they weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
Starting a new habit is never an easy thing to do, but in this case there is a pretty big incentive to do just that. Seatbelts save lives—that is why there is such a strong national initiative to get Americans to buckle up.
The first step is to make the realization that wearing your seatbelt is crucial. There are plenty of statistics in favor of this. For example:
- In a fatal car accident, individuals not wearing a seatbelt are ejected from the vehicle about 25% of the time. That gives you a 1-in-4 chance of staying in the car. For those who are wearing their seatbelts, the risk of ejection goes down to two percent.
- When used correctly, seatbelts have an effectiveness rate of 71% at reducing fatalities in children under the age of five. They will reduce the need for hospitalization by 69%.
- Approximately three quarters of children under five who die in car accidents are either not restrained, or are in an inappropriately used adult seatbelt.
Helpful Tricks to remind you to Wear Your Seatbelt
It is becoming commonplace in vehicles for there to be some sort of sensor that alerts the driver if anyone in the vehicle is not wearing their seatbelt. The result is an ongoing ding that does not stop until the driver and any passengers are properly wearing their seatbelt. Some vehicles are also equipped with a service light that is connected to the seatbelt. If someone is sitting on a seat and the seatbelt is not properly secured, then a service light will remain on. This gives the driver the opportunity to remind their passengers to buckle up. Remember, a police officer will pull over and ticket any individual who isn’t wearing a seatbelt—not just the driver.
If your car doesn’t come equipped with these automatic reminders, you might find a way to jog your memory when you sit down. You could do this by writing yourself a note and leaving it on your dashboard, so that everytime you get in your car you see the reminder to buckle up. Another helpful idea is to get in the habit of buckling the seatbelt when you get out of the car, so that you have to address the seatbelt before you even sit down. Some even find ways to connect their sun glasses or hands-free device to their seatbelt when they get out of the car so that it is the first place they look when they get back in.
Perhaps the best trick to remind yourself to wear your seatbelt is to understand how important it is to your personal safety and the safety of those in your car. Buckling up saves lives, and can prevent you from being hit with a pretty hefty fine.
Defensive driving courses are a great tool if you are looking for a way to be reminded of traffic laws, or are interested in learning more about the changes in traffic laws in recent years. These courses, or traffic school, are available for anyone who is interested in receiving a discount on their car insurance or who are obligated to complete a course after receiving a moving violation. If you received a ticket, talk to a representative about what options are available for you. In some situations, a defensive driving course can reduce or eliminate fines and allow you to stay on the road.