Seat belts can provide proven safety and protection. According to the CDC, when lap/shoulder seat belts are used, the risk of a fatal injury to a front-seat passenger is reduced by 45 percent. The risk of a moderate-to-critical injury is also reduced by 50 percent. Seat belts come standard in any vehicle and there are seat belt laws in 49 states in the county. So why would someone make the conscious choice NOT to buckle up? Here are a few of the most common reasons:
- I don’t want to wrinkle my clothes.
- I have air bags, so it is not necessary.
- It’s uncomfortable.
- I am afraid I will be trapped if there is an accident and my car is on fire.
- I am good driver.
In reference to number one, if you are truly committed to safety, your last concern is wrinkled clothes. Regarding number two, air bags are technically supplemental or secondary restraint systems which defer to the seat belt as primary. As for number three, seat belts are not meant to fit loosely for comfort as they are for safety. Number four is based on the false belief that it’s safer not to wear a seat belt in case of a scenario that accounts for less than one-tenth of one percent of all accidents. Most passengers who are ejected from vehicles or thrown through a windshield do not survive. And lastly, number five attaches itself to the stubborn belief that if you are a good driver, you won’t get in an accident in the first place. If only we could control all of the motoring public. Unfortunately, we can only control our own individual actions.
Since accidents will happen, the focus should be on prevention. Buckling your seat belt can mean the difference between minor scrapes and paralysis or death. When it is presented in that way, we all should be able to suffer a few wrinkles in our clothes.