As we recently discussed on our South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, a record-high number of Floridian motorists are wearing seat belts to help them stay safe on our roadways. Florida law enforcement agencies have seen an increase in motorists buckling up during the 2011 “Click It or Ticket” campaign than during any previous year.
Maybe motorists are wearing seat belts to avoid a traffic ticket, or maybe they’re doing it because they understand how beneficial it can be in the event of an accident. Either way, our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are happy to hear it, but understand that we need to continue to press the issue to ensure everyone is staying safe on our roadways.
A recently released report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) illustrates just how effective some of the simplest safety measures can be. As car manufacturers continue to equip vehicles with top-of-the-line safety features, seat belts and properly used child safety seats are still some of the most effective ways to prevent injury during a motor-vehicle accident.
In 2009, the United States still lost nearly 33,000 people because of car accidents. The IIHS estimates that more than 12,700 lives could have been saved during the year if all motorists were to have been buckled up during a traffic accident. The Institute also predicts that if all children age 5 and older were buckled up, that another 3,700 lives could have been spared in 2009. According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, the national rate for seat belt use in the United States was 85 percent in 2010. This still means that roughly 15 percent of motorists are riding around without their seat belt on.
To help increase this national average, 32 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some sort of primary seat-belt law, which makes it permissible for an officer to pull over a motorist and issue them a ticket simply for not wearing a seat belt.
Another important way to keep passengers safe is to ensure that all young children are properly buckled in during every car trip.
According to ABC News, parents should use the following recommendations when buckling up a child:
-Children should be kept in a rear-facing car seat until they’re at least 2 years old or until they’ve outgrown the weight and height limit for the seat.
-Children should be kept in a forward-facing car seat for as long as possible. Advance them to a booster seat only when they reach the height and weight limits for the car seat.
-Children should sit in a booster seat with a seat belt until they’ve reached 4-feet, 9-inches tall. Experts recommend that children stay in these seats until they’re at least 12 years old.
“The ‘age 2’ recommendation is not a deadline, but rather a guideline to help parents decide when to make the transition,” Dennis Durbin, MD, FAAP, told ABC News.
Seat belts and child car seats are some of the easiest and most effective ways to help keep vehicle occupants safe in the event of an accident. Remember to check all the passengers in your vehicle to make sure everyone is buckled before hitting the road.