We’ve all heard the excuses people give for refusing to wear a seat belt. “I’m just going around the corner.” “It makes me feel claustrophobic.” “I want to get out of the car quickly if it’s on fire” or the all-time favorite, “I’m a good driver, and I never go over the speed limit.”
The reality is that there is no excuse not to wear a seat belt, and here’s why:
- 80% of car accidents happen at a speed of 40 mph and within a 25-mile radius of your home
- Three people out of 4 die if they’re thrown from their cars in a road accident
- You are 30 times more likely to be thrown from your vehicle in an accident if you’re not wearing a seat belt
- 29 people in the USA die every day in car accidents that involve a drunk driver
These statistics, amongst others, are why most states in the USA have laws that make wearing seat belts compulsory, including Arizona.
Arizona law states that the driver and front seat passengers must wear seat belts at all times. While you can’t be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt, you can be cited for not buckling up if you’re stopped for something else. The driver is responsible for citations received for passengers under sixteen; other passengers are responsible for their own citations. It’s optional for back seat passengers to wear seat belts. These laws don’t apply to older cars who weren’t fitted with seat belts at the time of manufacture.
But even though the Arizona seat belt law is pretty lenient, there are excellent reasons why both front and back seat passengers should always wear seat belts.
- Seat belts stop you from hitting the windscreen, dashboard, and steering wheel, and banging about the interior of the car.
- Seat belts keep you in the right position for your airbag to protect you.
- Seat belts hold your hips, chest, and shoulders in place. Protecting these strong parts of your body spreads out the force of the collision over a wide area and decreases the chance of injury to the more vulnerable parts of your body.
- Seat belts stop you being ejected from the car during an accident.
- Insurance claims, both for your vehicle and for your medical costs, may be impacted if you don’t wear your seat belt.
If you’re driving an older car that only has lap seat belts, or no seat belts at all, you may think about having your vehicle retrofitted with shoulder and hip belts. The cost is surely worth it to prevent tragic life-changing spine and head injuries, or even worse, death.
Things to think about
Seat belts decrease your chance of dying as a result of a car accident by 45%, and your chance of serious injury by 55%. 9,385 people died in collisions on USA roads in 2014 as a direct result of not buckling up.
Seat belts save many thousands of lives every year; get into the habit of buckling up and urge your passengers to do the same.
If you’re involved in a collision, call Orlando Auto Body at 480-418-4737 for a quote and advice on the repair.