Seat belts have been standard equipment in automobiles for many decades. Since their introduction in the 1950s, they have saved countless lives. However, millions of drivers and passengers continue to eschew their use. Many view airbags as adequate protection, however, airbags offer limited protection and are unable to prevent an individual from being ejected from the vehicle. The statistics and research are clear and show that not wearing a seatbelt can be a costly mistake that can lead to serious injury or can cost an individual their life.
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In 2012, nearly 2.2 million drivers and passengers were treated in emergency rooms following a motor vehicle accident. While it is a considerable number, it is one that is also a testament to the effectiveness of seat belts at saving lives. The CDC estimates that seat belts reduce the severity of crash related injuries by approximately 50%.
In the US, the highest fatality rate for drivers and passengers is within the 13-20-year-old demographic. In 2012, 55% of individuals within this age range that died in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts at the time of the collision. It is one of the primary reasons that car crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.
Research from the CDC in 2010 showed that seat belt use also varies by where individuals live. Their studies in 2010 showed that 78% of drivers in rural areas wear seat belts as compared with 87% of those within urban and suburban areas. This study attributed the difference in part to both existing seat belt laws and enforcement capabilities. In states where there are no seat belt laws, or light enforcement of secondary laws, seat belt use was roughly 80%. In states where there was strong enforcement of existing laws, seat belt usage rates were 89%.
Lake County car accident lawyers know that Illinois is a state with strict enforcement of seat belt laws. Law enforcement can issue fines of $25 for adults or passengers who fail to wear their seat belts. They may also issue fines of up to $75 for a first offense, or $200 for a second offense if the individual not wearing a seat belt is less than 8 years of age.