Another Tragic Reminder Concerning Seatbelt Use

Seat Belts, Buckle, Tongue, K12E Seat Belts, Buckle, Tongue, K12E

Tragedy recently hit two Columbus, Georgia families after a fatal car accident resulted in the death of one teenage girl and landed her boyfriend behind bars. A senior at Northside High School died one Friday evening over the summer after her boyfriend lost control of the car.

According to the police report, the boyfriend was under the influence of alcohol when he lost control of his girlfriend’s Toyota Scion after passing Randall Wood Drive. The car began to spin, eventually hitting an embankment and flipping several times before coming to a rest after slamming into a tree. The driver survived the accident but the passenger, who was ejected from the car, did not. The boyfriend is now being charged with numerous traffic charges, including 1st degree vehicular homicide, DUI, and improper lane change.

The Consequence of Not Buckling Up

The police report indicates that neither occupant was wearing a seatbelt the evening of the accident. Tragically, every hour someone dies in America simply because they chose not to buckle up. Despite the fact that safety belts are the most effective means of reducing fatalities and serious injuries, many adults and children simply do not feel the need to use them.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death among those between the ages of five and 34.

Adults Influence on Children

An astounding 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as a result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. The CDC says that adults who do not use safety belts may think that their behavior only affects them, but they are wrong. Studies consistently show that there is correlation between adult belt use and child belt use. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when a driver is buckled, 94 percent of the time children in that vehicle are buckled; but, when a driver is unbuckled, only 30 percent of child passengers are buckled. What parent wants to pass along such a dangerous habit?

Monetary Impact of Seatbelt Use

Beyond the physical harm of not wearing seatbelts, there’s a monetary impact as well. Vehicle crash costs skyrocket when occupants aren’t wearing seat belts, because unbelted victims sustain more severe injuries. Of the people who survive car crashes, unbelted victims stay three-to-five times longer in a hospital and incur two-to-seven times the medical costs of those wearing safety belts, according to the NHTSA.

Seatbelts on Rural Roads

Drivers in the Southeast, including Georgia, are less likely to buckle up than the rest of the nation’s drivers, and the fatal crash rate in the region is 20 percent higher than in other parts of the United States. One reason is that drivers in the region spend more time on rural roads, incorrectly believing they are in less danger than on the interstate. According to NHTSA research, 75 percent of all traffic deaths and injuries occur within 25 miles of victims’ homes, at speeds of less than 40 miles per hour. Being thrown against a dashboard in a 30 mile-per-hour crash is like striking the ground after falling from a third-floor window.

Contact an Accident Attorney

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident or truck accident because of the carelessness of another driver, please contact Pope McGlamry or submit a case evaluation online to schedule a complimentary legal consultation.

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Source: “Columbus teen killed in car crash, boyfriend faces charges,” by Brittany Dionne, published at