As a Chicago personal injury lawyer, I am amazed by driver and passenger apathy towards seat belt use. Over the years, it has been proven that the seat belt is most important safety device in a vehicle. Despite the overwhelming evidence that seat belts save lives, many drivers choose not to use them. Doing so puts them at a greater risk of serious injuries or death should a car accident occur. How many times have we heard, if only they had been wearing a seat belt?
Seat belts save lives and prevent serious injuries upon impact, simply stated by Chicago car accident lawyer David Nemeroff. Study after study on seat belt use have concluded that wearing a properly secured seat belt reduces the risk of serious injury or death. What amazes me is the apathy that parents have regarding seat belt use in children. How many times do you drive next to a car filled with young children moving about in the backseat? It is obvious that they are not secured or wearing a seat belts. Numerous studies have concluded that seat belt use among children under the age of four years reduces the risk of death from a Chicago car accident in half. Yes, that is by over 50%.
As of January 1, 2012, all backseat passengers in Illinois are required to wear a seat belt. The exceptions are passengers traveling in buses, emergency vehicles and taxi cabs. This law is meant as an additional safety feature for front seat passengers. According to the Illinois State Police, backseat passengers can be projectiles. Rear seated passengers that are not wearing seat belts can be a danger to passengers in the front seat. Serious injuries and fatalities have occurred to front seat passengers who were struck by rear passengers not wearing seat belts. Seat belt use can prevent passengers from being ejected, decreasing the risk of catastrophic injuries or death. Examples of catastrophic injuries are spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries.
The new law requires all rear seat passengers 16 years of age and older to wear a seat belt. The current law requires all children ages 8-15 to wear seat belts. Children under the age of 7 must be in a car seat or appropriate booster seat. Failure to do so will result in a ticket. The fines for violating the new rear seat belt law start at $25. Will it take a $25 fine to increase seat belt use?
No matter what the dollar amount of the fine, wearing a seat belt can save your life. Car accidents are among the leading causes of death in children. Improper or lack of seat belt use can contribute to the mortality rate. It is estimated that five children are killed each day in auto accidents. An additional 500 children are injured daily in car accidents. The number one cause of death is improper use or lack of seat belt use.
A slogan sticks in my head: buckle up, it's the law. Seat belts save lives!