Car accidents can devastate the lives of those involved. But one thing that can lessen or stop the devastation is a seatbelt.
In September 2015, a passenger died in a single-vehicle crash on Alabama 251 near Ardmore. The passenger died after the vehicle left the road and overturned. He was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. The driver did not suffer any injuries.
A single-vehicle accident in Athens in November 2015 left one man dead and four injured after the vehicle left the road and struck a culvert. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt and Alabama troopers pronounced him dead at the scene.
Don’t Make Excuses for Not Wearing a Seatbelt
There is no valid excuse for not wearing a seatbelt. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seatbelts reduce both injuries and fatalities from car accidents by about half.
But people make excuses nonetheless. Here are a few common ones people use:
- Habit: Some drivers claim they just never got used to wearing them.
- Invincibility: Some young people believe they can live forever. According to 2010 data from the CDC, drivers ages 18-34 are less likely than drivers over 35 to wear seatbelts. In addition, men are 10 percent less likely than women to wear seatbelts.
- Drunk or Impaired Driving: People who have been drinking may have impaired judgment and forget or choose not to wear a seatbelt.
- “I’m a good driver.” Some people believe they do not need to wear a seatbelt because they possess the skill to avoid an accident. But good drivers wear seatbelts.
- “Seatbelts can cause injuries.” This is true; seatbelts can cause injuries. But the injuries are usually relatively minor compared to the injuries you might suffer without one.
- “Airbags will save me.” Yes, airbags are designed to protect you in an accident; however, remember that airbags and seatbelts work together to save lives. If the airbag does not go off, you have no protection in an accident if you are not wearing a seatbelt.
Seatbelts drastically reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. However, in order for them to work, you need to wear it.
Promote Safe Seatbelt Behaviors
Children learn their behaviors from their parents. If you do not wear a seatbelt, they may not wear one either. Focus on promoting good, safe behaviors rather than excusing unsafe ones.
- Wear your seatbelt: If your children see you wear one and you encourage them to do the same, it can promote a lifetime of safe seatbelt use.
- Create a rule for riding in the car with a seatbelt: Everyone has to wear a seatbelt or no one goes anywhere.
Teaching your children to wear a seatbelt can save their lives now and in the future.
Legal Consequences of Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Alabama fines drivers $25 for adults and children who are not buckled up within the vehicle. That might seem like a relatively minor penalty, but consider the costs if you are in a serious accident. If you suffer severe injuries, you are no longer looking at just a penalty of $25—you’re looking at thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and more. And your lack of seatbelt use might affect your ability to recover full compensation under Alabama’s contributory negligence laws.
If you ever find yourself in a serious wreck, call us for help with your case. Call the personal injury lawyers at Martinson & Beason, P.C. today at 256-533-1667 or fill out our online contact form.