One of the most important decisions you can make while in a vehicle is to buckle up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 15,000 lives are saved each year in the United States because drivers and their passengers were wearing seat belts during an accident. Most Americans see the lifesaving value in using a seat belt with a national usage rate of 90%. Unfortunately, #Georgia is one of the twenty-two states that does not require passengers over eighteen in the back seat to wear a seat belt. Passengers in the back seat are also three times more likely to die in a crash if they are unbuckled, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). It is important to be aware of the prevalent myths that keep people from wearing seat belts.
Here are a few of the common seat belt myths and the facts that disprove them:
Myth 1: If your car has airbags you don’t need a seat belt.
Airbags are actually specifically designed to protect buckled occupants. Seatbelts are supposed to hold a person in the proper position to benefit from airbag deployment. If you aren’t wearing your seatbelt you are in danger of sliding underneath the airbag, colliding with the windshield, or even being ejected out of the car. Airbags also provide supplemental protection and may only deploy in moderate to severe frontal accidents making them most effective when worn together with a seatbelt.
Myth 2: Seatbelts can cause serious injuries.
While it’s true that anything, including seat belts and airbags, can cause injury during an accident its proven that wearing a seat belt will reduce the chance of a fatal injury by as much as 50%. Wearing a seatbelt is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers.
Myth 3: If you’re not going far or traveling fast seatbelt’s aren’t necessary.
Seemingly routine trips that are close to home can also be deceptively dangerous. According to the NHTSA most fatal accidents actually, occur within twenty-five miles of a person's home and are usually at speeds less than 25mph. This is why it’s important to always wear your seat belt, no matter how close you are to home.
Myth 4: Seatbelts are uncomfortable and restrict my movement.
When adjusted properly wearing a seatbelt should not cause any unreasonable pressure or discomfort. Many technological advancements have been made, including polyester webbing and pre-tensioners, which eliminate slack in the event of a crash, making seat belts much more comfortable for the wearer.
Myth 5: Seat belts can trap you in your vehicle during a crash.
This concern mostly comes from accidents involving fire or water which account for less than 1% of all crashes. If you are not wearing a seat belt you are much more likely to have a serious injury that incapacitates the occupant leaving them unable to exit the vehicle then you are to be an accident with a car fire or vehicle submersion.
Myth 6: Not enough time to buckle up.
This is another common complaint but the reality is buckling a seat belt can be done in less than three seconds. Even if you have children and a couple of stops to make it will likely add up to less than a minute of time spent buckling, less time than tying your shoe in the morning.