Today, 49 out of 50 states require that seat belts be worn in the vehicle in some manner. Only the state of New Hampshire has no enforcement of seat belt laws. Since the day they first became mandatory in the state of New York in 1984, there has been some controversy about their effectiveness. However, the statistics clearly show that drivers and passengers who do not wear seat belts are more likely to be injured or killed in accidents.
Lives Saved by Seat Belts
The last year that seat belt statistics are available was 2014. During that year, approximately 2.3 million people were treated in emergency rooms due to being involved in auto accidents. In the previous year, the number of non-fatal injuries resulted in an expenditure of more than $45 billion regarding both medical bills and loss of wages due to missing work.
In 2014, a total of 21,022 drivers and passengers were killed in motor vehicle accidents. It was one of the leading causes of death for men and women up to the age of 54. However, according to determinations made from non-fatal accidents during that year, it was estimated that 12,802 lives were saved thanks to seat belts. Also, another 2,396 lives were saved because of the deployment of air bags.
In addition, it was estimated that 252 children under the age of 4 were saved by the use of child restraints. The estimations are gathered from police reports where the scene of the accident was examined and determinations made that took into account the force and direction of any impact which the seat belt is primarily designed to protect. As a result, the officers on the scene would conclude the influence the seat belt had in savings lives.
Seat Belt Laws
It is important to note that of the 49 states who have seat belt laws, they are divided into different levels of enforcement.
- Primary Under Certain Ages
Primary enforcement means that an officer can stop and ticket the driver if they are not wearing a seat belt. Primary under certain ages means that they can only stop and ticket the driver if he or she is under a certain age. Secondary enforcement means that the driver must be stopped for another reason before they can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt.
It’s important to recognize that each state will have its rules and regulations about what age or circumstances that a driver might be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. This means that a driver in one state might be ticketed, but not in another because of different age requirements.
Seat Belt Law for Children:
Besides, the proper restraints are required for children under 4 or 5 in all states, including New Hampshire. This means that parents have no excuse not to have their child properly fastened into a recognized child safety seat or appropriate restraints designed for children.
In the end, all drivers must become familiar with their state’s laws when it comes to wearing a seat belt. However, the best course of action is to make sure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing the proper restraints.