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Seat Belts Save Lives

Seatbelt3

It seems like we hear over and over again about the importance of wearing seat belts, and using safety seats for young children. Yet, it seems like every day, more and more people ignore using such simple devices.

Using Seat Belts Saves Lives

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 5 and 14 is being unrestrained, or improperly restrained, in a vehicle. This is despite laws in Florida that require kids 3 and under to be restrained in a car seat (which must be a separate item or device than the car itself). Under the age of one, the child must be facing backwards towards the rear of the vehicle.

Once kids reach the age of 4, integrated car seats can be used. When kids reach the age of 6, the law requires that all children use a seat belt. Police can stop you and pull your vehicle over for not using a seat belt, even if you are otherwise doing nothing else wrong or improper.

Although the law doesn’t require it, experts often say that kids under the age of 12 should never be restricted in seats where air bags can deploy. For all ages, the middle of a back seat is an ideal area, as no air bags can reach there.

Why They Help

We tend to think of seat belts as preventing our bodies from going through the front window, or from violently colliding with the interior of the car, and seat belts do prevent that type of injury. But seat belts also slow our body’s acceleration in an impact. When our car is hit our bodies are thrust forward. Seat belts slow down that sudden, violent movement. That slowing-down lessens strains or sprains or other injuries caused when the body violently goes from a moving position to a stopped position, or vice versa.

Using Belts Properly

Using seat belts properly can make a huge difference. Belts should never be around someone’s stomach, but rather, should cross the person’s hips. The lap belt should go across the shoulder and should not be underneath the arm. The belt should cross in the middle of the passenger’s breast area.

Using seat belts and child restraints should be done for safety, not for a legal case, but it’s worth noting that your failure to use a seat belt in an accident can hinder your ability to win a lawsuit, even if the other driver is the one who causes the accident. A jury is allowed to lower your damages, possibly to nothing at all, if the other side can convince the jury that his or her injuries would not have occurred, if the victim was properly using a seat belt.

The Tampa personal injury attorneys at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian can answer your questions if you are in an accident. Call us today to discuss obtaining damages after any type of accident. Schedule a consultation today.

Resources:

flhsmv.gov/safety-center/vehicle-safety/buckle-up-florida-its-the-law/

nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts

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