Automobile accidents happen every day, and while we do our best to prevent them, an unexpected accident could put anyone in the vehicle at risk for injury. Seat belts, car seats, and other restraints are built in to protect riders and drivers from the potential injuries associated with car accidents, but their proper use is critical. This year, the U.S. saw a record-breaking level of seat belt use.
According to a recent study released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use in the U.S. reached 90 percent in the U.S. in 2016. This is an all-time high since the survey began tracking this data in 1994.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx reminds drivers about the utmost importance of consistent and proper seat belt use, “The best way folks can protect themselves in their cars is by wearing a seat belt,” Foxx stated. “Whether you’re a driver or passenger, in the front seat or back, the simple act of wearing a seat belt significantly reduces the risk of fatality and major injury in a crash.”
Seat belt use increased dramatically across all regions and car type. The 2016 report found that in the last year, seat belt use for drivers and passengers in rural areas increased by more than 2 and a half percent. The report found a similar result in vans and SUV occupants increasing from 90.3 percent use in 2015 to 92.3 percent in 2016.
NHTSA estimates nearly 345,000 lives have been saved by seat belt use since 1975, saving nearly 14,000 lives during 2015 alone. But the safety administration won’t stop there. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind reaches to aim for 100 percent stating, “Vehicles have many more safety features today than ever before, but there is nothing more important than the simple seat belt. We are encouraged by this progress, but with so many people still dying in crashes because they are not wearing their seat belts, we will not rest until we reach 100 percent.”
With the practice of common driving safety tips and decreased distracted driving, the number of car accidents can be lowered, but never completely eliminated. Because you always need to be prepared for the unpredictable, the most important safety tip will always be remembering to wear your seat belt at all times. If you or a loved one is injured in an automobile accident, we are here to help. Call us at 800.676.5295 or contact us to schedule a meeting to discuss your auto accident case and how our experienced attorneys can help.