Vehicle accidents involving drivers and passengers unwilling to take the time and make the effort to utilize seat belts have become an increasing problem and no amount of legislation can replace sound judgment to curb this growing trend, Alabama attorney Keith T. Belt says
A recent report from the Alabama Department of Public Safety said the number of unrestrained traffic fatalities in collisions increased in April and has increased in the state overall. According to the report, preliminary crash data showed that 45 people were killed in traffic accidents in April, while just 42 were reported in March. Of the 45 people killed, 37 were in vehicles where seatbelts were available and 26 were not restrained. Only 20 unrestrained traffic deaths were reported in March.
At the time of the report, 157 people had died in traffic collisions in Alabama so far in 2013 and 82 of them were not restrained. The Centers for Disease Control’s website states that seatbelts reduce the risk of death for those in the front seat by 45 percent and the risk of serious injury by 50 percent. Of fatality wrecks, the most severe injuries in incidents, where the victims were not restrained. With the biggest risk, occurring for the unrestrained driver or passenger, being the increased risk of ejection from the vehicle. This includes risk of head and neck trauma and the risk of being run over by their vehicle or another vehicle on the roadway.
The CDC website said that people not wearing a seatbelt were 30 times more likely to be ejected during a crash and three out of every four people, who were ejected, died from their injuries. According to the CDC, more than half of the people killed in car crashes were not restrained. In Alabama, the state Department of Public Safety said that number is 59 to 60 percent in accidents investigated by the State Troopers.
With those statistics in mind, local law enforcement will be cracking down on drivers and passengers who are not wearing their seatbelts or not using proper child restraints. The “Click It or Ticket” campaign kicks off for the Summer with grant money received to increase patrols during holiday periods. The seatbelt requirement in the state of Alabama was signed into law in 1999 and although fines are considerably less than for most moving violations, officers can stop a vehicle just for a seatbelt or child restraint violation or can add it to another violation.
Common excuses for not wearing a seatbelt are that it is uncomfortable, they have airbags to protect them or they fear they would not be able get out of the vehicle if the car were to land in water or another hazard. If that happens, you are much more likely to remain conscious and be able to release your seatbelt and free yourself, according to the Police. As for the people who think they don’t have to wear a seatbelt because they have an airbag — that only works on initial impact, not on a rotational impact or second impact. They never deploy a second time and will not stay inflated after initial impact, leaving the individuals without seat belts, completely venerable to severe injury.
About Belt & Bruner, P.C.
Belt & Bruner, P.C., is an Alabama personal injury law firm that represents the victims of dangerous and defective products throughout the communities of Birmingham, Bessemer, Cullman, Tuscaloosa, Jasper, Homewood, Jefferson County, Shelby County, Walker County, Blount County and Saint Clair County. Although the firm’s focus is on regional litigation in Alabama, the firm’s attorneys have also represented clients in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Delaware. To learn more, call the firm or use its online form.