A new study, led by researcher Dr. Lois Lee from Boston Children’s Hospital, has found that fewer people die in crashes when drivers can be ticketed for seat belt violations. This is even when they haven’t broken any other laws or given officers other reasons to stop them.
The study analyzed 283,183 motor vehicle fatalities (ages 10 and older) from 2001 to 2010 and uncovered that states with primary seat belt laws have 17% lower death rates than states that had secondary seat belt laws. Secondary seat belt laws mean that seat belt tickets can only be legally given in conjunction with other moving vehicle violations.
In 2001, 14.6 out of 100,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents. In 2001, only 16 states had primary seat belt laws; compared to 33 states with secondary seat belt laws. By 2010, 30 states had primary seat belt laws and the average fatality rate had dropped to just 9.7 out of 100,000 drivers.
When states changed from secondary seat belt laws to primary seat belt laws, seat belt use actually increased by 10%.
"Seat belt use is a proven method to reduce motor vehicle occupant injuries,"
— Grant Baldwin, an injury prevention researcher at the CDC
While the study did shine a light on the importance of wearing a seat belt each and every time you get into a car - it failed to account for deaths that occurred over a month after an accident - such as from a traumatic brain injury or internal organ damage.
Who Doesn’t Buckle up - And Why?
The study found that the majority of drivers who don’t buckle up are men, under the age of 24, and who live in rural areas. For some reason, this group of drivers had the highest rate of motor vehicle fatalities - and not wearing their seat belts. Why don’t they wear their seat belt? Some say that seat belts are uncomfortable. Others believe that seat belts themselves will cause more injury if they are involved in an accident. Some simply don’t want to wear their seat belts because it IS the law - and they distrust government involvement in their lives.
Contact Our Denver Car Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, we can help. Our Denver accident attorneys understand the complications that can occur after a car crash - and we work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the money you need to recover.