Seat Belts / Buckle up- General Driver Safety
Many drivers in the U.S. today fail to use their seat belts while driving, even though wearing a seat belt is an effective way to reduce fatalities and injuries in car crashes. You may be heading out for a quick errand, or driving down the street to visit a friend, and perhaps you don’t feel the need to put your seat belt on. You might underestimate its importance in keeping you safe, or simply find them inconvenient or uncomfortable to wear. But the truth is, motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for children, teens, and adults under the age of 34, and over 2.2 million people visit the ER every year for crash-related injuries.
Even if you walk away from a crash alive, you may face years of physical, mental, and emotional damage that will take a toll on your ability to work, provide for your family, and live a full and productive life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that non-fatal car crashes result in over $50 billion in both lifetime medical costs and lost wages. Even something as simple as a fender bender without a seat belt on could cost you more than you think.
Here in Georgia, our driver safety laws dictate that drivers and passengers must wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion. Georgia’s primary seat belt law means that you can be pulled over and ticketed for not wearing seat belts, even if you are not breaking any other laws at the time.
At iRideSafe™, we are committed to protecting the lives of everyone on the roads and we support this law to keep our citizens safe. After all, according to the National Highway Traffic Highway Safety Administration, 54% of teen car crash fatalities involve someone who isn’t wearing a seat belt. So what are some ways you can get into the habit of wearing your seat belt while in the car?
- Make sure you have a proper seat belt fit - adjust the height and tension to fit snugly and evenly across your torso, making a diagonal line from your shoulder to your hip, and secure the lap belt to be comfortably snug.
- If you have children, teach them early that wearing a seat belt is a normal and expected part of car rides.
- Insist that every passenger in your vehicle buckles up before you begin driving.
- Know your local laws about seat belts and safe driving, and the consequences for breaking them.
- Get involved in community groups to educate others, especially young drivers, about the importance of seat belt usage.
- Be a good example to others, and buckle up no matter how short the ride.
Don’t let yourself or your loved ones start making excuses about not wearing their seat belts when traveling short distances. Even if you’re just going to the corner gas station or neighborhood grocery store, buckle up! The NHTSA reports that approximately 52 percent of all car accidents occur within a five-miles radius of home. Nearly 70 percent of all car accidents occur within ten miles from home, where many drivers let their guards down and leave their seat belts off.
If you want to learn more about Georgia driver safety tips, we have many great resources here at iRideSafe™. Check out our videos, links, and handouts to help you become a good and safe driver.
For a snapshot of Georgia’s motor vehicle occupant seat belt use and strategies for encouraging the use of seat belts, car seats and booster seats, view and download this helpful fact sheet from the CDC.
For more information regarding facts and state laws in Georgia, click here:
Governor’s Highway Safety Association