Seat Belts: Even More Important Than You Might Think

Buckle up! Not only is it the law; it’s an excellent way to ensure that you survive an accident. Here are some facts relating to seat belts, and why it’s so important that you strap in each time you get in the car.

  • While a seat belt can’t save you from all types of injuries relating to motor vehicle accidents, they do make it much more likely that you’ll survive. Seat belts can lower your chance of dying or experiencing injuries from the crash by 50%.
  • In the state of New York, you can be pulled over and fined just for not wearing a seatbelt—police need no additional reason to pull you over. Your front-seat passenger can also be fined $50 for failing to buckle up. Drivers can be fined between $25-$100 for failing to ensure that every passenger under age 16 is appropriately restrained; either with a seat belt, booster, or safety seat, depending on the child’s size.
  • Not only are you much more likely to be hurt in a crash where you weren’t wearing a seat belt; it’s going to be more difficult to recover the full amount of your damages. Failing to wear a seat belt is a fact that the defendant can use to diminish the amount owed to you for your injuries, under the theory that you could have mitigated your damages (i.e., diminished the extent to which you were hurt) by wearing a seat belt.
  • Some people claim that wearing a seat belt can actually be more dangerous than not wearing one in a crash. While it is technically true to say that there are types of accidents that can be more dangerous when you’re restrained by a seatbelt, the odds are very small. Less than one-half of 1% of all car accidents resulting in injury involve being submersed in water or engulfed in flame.
  • Individuals who are not wearing a seatbelt and are ejected from the vehicle in a crash are 25 times more likely to receive fatal injuries than those who are buckled in.
  • If you’re in a crash while driving around with one or more other people, you’re not only more likely to be injured in a crash, you’re more likely to injure others by moving freely through the car after impact.
  • On short trips, you may not think that there’s a high risk of having an accident. However, car accidents can happen at any time—they can happen while you pull out of your driveway—and 75% of all crashes occur within 25 miles of home.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a crash in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, or Albany, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at the law firm of Basch & Keegan LLP for a free consultation, at (845) 338-8884.