According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths in the United States are on a rise, and many of them could be avoided if seat belts were worn at all times.
People riding in automobiles should be aware of the risks they face on a daily basis by not wearing seat belts. The NHTSA reported that most deaths that occur in automobile accidents involve people who are not buckled up.
In 2005 alone, 43,200 people died in automobile accidents, and 55 percent of the people killed weren’t wearing seat belts. Since then the number has grown exponentially, and the NHTSA said this is due to a tendency for drivers to ignore seat belt laws.
Many people complain they do not wear seat belts because they are uncomfortable and restrictive. However, the purpose of a seatbelt is not for comfort, it is to ensure a greater chance of survival in the event that there is an auto-accident of some kind, according to the National Safety Belt Coalition.
“The fatality rate of car accidents would be much lower if people were more focused on the safety of the ride than the comfort,” said Staff Sgt. Tyrell Snow of the United States Air Force.
“At one point in my life, I did not wear my seat belt,” said Monica Jackson, 24, a FAMU alumna.
“The day I got into my auto accident, I thank God I had my seat belt on because the officer said that was the only thing that saved my life, and she said by the angle that I was hit, without having on my seat belt I would have been thrown clear across the intersection.”
Some people say the main purpose of a seat belt is to keep the passenger in his or her seat during an accident. According to NSBC, during an accident, the body remains still, but the internal organs of the body keep moving.
If the internal organs are moving at the same speed the car was going before the crash, they have not yet hit anything to cause them to stop or slow down; this is why when they do hit, it tends to be another major organ or something in the skeletal system. When the internal organs collide, this can cause major injuries or possibly a fatal injury. “I just recently got into an accident, with the car behind me slamming into the back of my van,” said Kelsey Buchanan, a senior political science student. “I was sent home from work early because I began to feel severe neck and back pains,” said Buchanan. “The doctor told me you do not always feel the effects of an accident the moment the accident occurs,” Buchanan said.
If there is an auto accident, there are only two main duties a seat belt must provide, NSBC reported. Aside form keeping passengers from hitting other passengers during an auto accident, one of the duties the seat belt provides is its ability to keep the passenger from hitting the dashboard, windshield or from being fully discharged from the automobile. Some people say they do not wear their seat belts because they are safe drivers and feel they do not need them.
In the event that a crash does happen, if the person is secured properly in the seat belt the belt will distribute forces of rapid deceleration over larger and stronger parts of the body.
The seat belt stretches slightly over the person’s chest, hips and shoulder to slow down the passenger’s body, and it increases the stopping distance.