We all know we're supposed to wear seat belts. Not only do we know it's the best way to save our life in the event of an accident, but we also know that it's the law. According to buckleupnc.com, all drivers and passengers, in the rear seat as well as in the front seat, ages 16 and older must wear their seat belts. Children less than age 16 are covered by the NC Child Passenger Safety law.
Still, roughly 20 percent of people are not slapping on that seat belt, according to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2011, close to 21,500 occupants of passenger vehicles (passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs) died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those fatalities, only about 9,500 were restrained. Restraint use was not known for 1,634 occupants. Looking at only occupants where the restraint status was known, more than 50 percent were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
Our Winston-Salem car accident attorneys understand that our young ones are some of the worst offenders when it comes to seat belt usage. In 2011, 64 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants ages 21 to 24 killed in traffic crashes were not using restraints -- the highest percentage out of all age groups.
So how serious was it in North Carolina? According to the statistics from the NHTSA, of the close to 900 occupants who were killed in traffic accidents in the state in 2011, only about half of them were belted at the time of the accident. This seems a little funny considering that officials report a seat belt usage rate of close to 90 percent.
For children, a properly used child restraint device (CRD) is required if the child is less than 8-years-old and weighs less than 80 pounds. Most parents and caregivers will be able to comply by using belt-positioning booster seats for children between 40 and 80 pounds. The child must be within the weight range for the child restraint/booster seat and it must meet Federal standards in effect at time of manufacture.
Seat belts work and the proof is in the numbers. Among passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older, seat belts saved an estimated 12,000 lives in 2011. If all passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older had worn seat belts, close to 15,500 lives could have
been saved in 2011.
If you don't want to buckle up to save your life, you might as well do it to save some money. If you're pulled over and busted for not wearing a seat belt. For a first-time violation, you'll be slapped with a $25.50 fine. You're also going to have to dish out more than $135 in court costs. Lucky for you, no driver's license or insurance points are assessed with this violation.
If you're busted with someone in the back seat who isn't properly buckled in, you're looking at a monetary penalty.