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We blog about relevant issues in personal injury law, discuss the misconceptions surrounding personal injury law and some of the most popular cases in the news, inform on the legal and political landscape of tort reform and insurance company lobbying, and provide readers with helpful personal injury information and resources. Please visit www.glassmanlegal.com for more information.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Keep Your Family Safe And Buckle Up This Summer
Seat belts save lives. Seat belt use across the country is at 88% nationally, however there are still groups of people that are less likely to wear a seat belt. Teens, males in rural areas, commercial drivers, pick-up truck drivers, people driving at night and people who have been drinking all are less likely.
When preventing death and injury, wearing a seat belt is the singular most effective traffic safety device. From 2004-2008, seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives and reduced the risk of injuries in a crash by 50%.
There are safety belt laws in all states except for New Hampshire. In some states, like Missouri, adult seat belt laws only apply to front seat occupants. Police may stop a vehicle in 32 of our states solely for seat belt violations, in other states police must have another reason to stop a vehicle before giving a citation for failing to buckle up.
In 16 states, Missouri included, safety belt use can have implications in civil suits which is referred to as the “safety belt defense.” This defense can reduce damages collected by someone in a crash if the person was not wearing their safety belt at the time. By statute in Missouri, if the absence of a seat belt is found to have contributed to an injury, a victim's award may only be reduced by 1%.
All states have child restraint laws. These laws requires that children ride in approved devices until a certain age and weight, then use the vehicle’s own seat belt. A child 3 years and younger and/or 40 pounds or less must be in a child restraint. Children 4 to 7 years old who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and are 4’9” or shorter must be in either a booster seat or a child restraint. All children who are 8 to 16 years old, all children who are 4 years old and older who weigh 80 pounds or more, or are 4’9” and taller are permitted to use an adult safety belt.
There is no doubt that wearing a safety belt can save a life. When embarking on family road trips this summer make sure that your family is safe and that everyone is buckled up.