With the holiday season, we can expect our roadways to be busy as residents in the area will be shopping traveling, returning home from school, vacationing and visiting relatives.
In fact, it's the busiest travel season of the year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt usage among American drivers is at an all-time high. Recent statistics show that more than 85 percent of motorists are buckling in during every car ride. That might be a sign of relief for many, but there are still millions who aren't wearing their seat belts. Because of this, there are thousands and thousands who are dying in car accidents each and every year.
"When it comes to driving safely, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family is to use a seat belt," said Ray LaHood with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
Our St. Louis car accident attorneys understand that seat belts are your best defense against injury and death in the event of a car accident. Even though Missouri law requires all drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts, there are many who don't. If you're riding with a driver who has a learner's permit or an intermediate driver's license, all passengers in the vehicle are required to buckle up!
Although we only saw a 2 percent increase in the rate of seat belt usage from 2011 to 2012, this serves as another year for increases. We've actually seen this rate increase since 1994. Still, we're not at 100 percent.
According to studies, the rates of seat belt usage continues to be higher in states that have primary seat belt laws, meaning that an officer can stop a motorist for simply not wearing their seat belt. In states that have these kinds of laws as secondary enforcement, an officer cannot cite a motorist for not wearing their seat belt until they find them breaking another road law.
Currently, there are more than 30 states in the country that have primary seat belt laws. Seventeen more have secondary laws.
It's important for parents and guardians to make sure that children are safely buckled during every car ride, too! In the state of Missouri, the law requires that all children who weigh less than 40 pounds be seated and buckled in the proper child safety seat. Children who are over the age of 4, are between 40 and 80 pounds and are shorter than 4'9" are required to be in the proper child car seat of booster seat. If you're busted with a child in your vehicle who isn't properly buckled in, then you're looking at a $50 fine plus court costs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 5 and 34. Adult seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Yet millions of adults do not wear their seat belts on every trip. Buckle up and stay safe out there to help to protect yourself in the event of a car accident.
More Blog Entries:
Prescriptions and Medications Increasing Your Risks for a St. Louis Car Accident?, St. Louis Injury Lawyer Blog, September 24, 2012
MoDOT's Summer Construction Plans, Drivers Beware St. Louis Accident Risks, St. Louis Injury Lawyer Blog, August 6, 2012