Late last year, a 15-year-old girl was killed in a car accident on the E-470 in Denver, after the car she was a passenger in collided with another vehicle and smashed into the highway embankment. The girl was not wearing her seatbelt at the time, and was ejected from the car upon impact with the embankment. Crash investigators claimed that the victim would have survived had she bean wearing her seatbelt when the accident occurred.
Sadly, this story is all too common in Colorado and across the United States. For this reason, Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, has begun an initiative aimed at accomplishing zero traffic fatalities throughout the state in coming years. According to the Governor, the first step in reaching this goal is for drivers and passengers to buckle-up.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), seatbelts are the single, most important safety feature of all motor vehicles. It is the first and most effective line of defense in a car crash by keeping vehicle occupants secure during impact. In fact, the AAA reports that the use of seatbelts is over 60% successful in reducing car accident related fatalities; and of the more than 165 deaths of drivers/passengers who were not wearing their seatbelts last year in Colorado, over half of these fatalities would have been prevented had the individuals been wearing their seatbelts.
However, in order to be effective, seatbelts must be worn properly. This means that the belt must be fastened snug around your hips and the shoulder harness must go over your shoulder and across your chest – not behind your back. Not only will this keep you secure and in place during an accident, but the belt/strap will distribute the force of impact across stronger, “bonier” parts of your body (hips, shoulders, rib cage). This can help prevent or minimize severe injuries.
Failure to wear your seatbelt properly, though better than not wearing it at all, may do little to protect you during a car crash. For instance, if you place the shoulder strap behind your back, you can still be ejected from the vehicle if the force of the accident is so great or causes your vehicle to flip over. In less severe collisions, you can suffer extremely bad injuries to your head, neck, back and spine that would have not otherwise occurred if the strap was secured across your chest.
As a result, the first thing you should do when entering a motor vehicle is buckle-up – and make sure to do so properly!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, whether you were wearing your seatbelt or not, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight for the compensation you deserve. The personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal have experience representing clients in all types of accident and other personal injury cases, and we will fight hard to gather the evidence you need to prove your case and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Call us today for a free consultation at (303) 647-4511 or visit us online.