Early this summer, a five-year-old girl and a 25-year-old woman were fatally injured in a car accident on the Florida Turnpike near the Osceola-Orange County Line. A van containing six people was traveling northbound on the Osceola Parkway followed by a tractor trailer hauling cars when a Chevy SUV ahead lost control after its tire tread separated. The SUV collided with a guardrail and two passengers inside, Esibel Varona and Rebekah Pollard, were ejected from the vehicle. The tractor-trailer behind the SUV was unable to stop in time and ran over the victims. Kaley Pollard, a three-year-old passenger of the SUV, was not injured as she was the only person in the SUV wearing a seatbelt.
Seatbelt Use The Most Significant Factor in Crash Fatalities
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of five and 34, and every day, roughly 6,400 adults are injured in a car crash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that seatbelt use is the single most effective way to reduce the risk of serious or fatal injuries in the event of an accident, dropping the risk of death by about 50 percent. Over 50 percent of vehicle occupants killed in car crashes were not wearing restraints, and unrestrained drivers and passengers are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. Over 75 percent of people ejected from a vehicle during a crash ultimately die from the injuries they sustained.
Seat Belt Usage Varies by State, Age, and Other Factors
While the percentage of adults who always wear seatbelts increased five percent, from 80 to 85 percent, between 2002 and 2008, one in seven adults still fails to wear a seatbelt on every car trip. Adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are nearly ten percent less likely to wear seatbelts than adults 35 or older, men are ten percent less likely to wear seatbelts than women, and adults who live in rural areas are ten percent less likely to wear seatbelts than adults who live in urban or suburban areas. Seatbelt use is expectedly higher in states with seatbelt laws; in 2015, 91.2 percent of drivers and passengers use seatbelts in states with seatbelt laws compared to only 78.6 percent in states without.
Florida enacted a primary seatbelt law that requires front seat passengers and all passengers under the age of 18 to wear seatbelts or child restraint devices. A primary law allows officers to stop and ticket drivers solely for failing to wear seatbelts, while a secondary seatbelt law allows an officer to issue seatbelt citations only if the driver has been pulled over for another reason. Unsurprisingly, primary seatbelt laws are more effective than secondary laws at increasing seatbelt usage. As a result, Florida has a slightly higher compliance rate than the national average – 87 percent of adults in Florida wear seatbelts compared to 86 percent of adults across the country. Although this percentage is higher than the national average, these statistics show that 13 percent of drivers still do not wear seatbelts on every trip, which can lead to thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths every year. Drivers and passengers alike must wear seatbelts on every trip, no matter how short, to ensure their safety in the event of a crash.
Have You Been Involved in an Auto Accident?
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, let lawyer John Piccin at the Piccin & Glynn help. He has handled a significant amount of auto accident cases and will ensure that you get the support you need. He can answer all of your questions, negotiate with insurance companies, and even make home or hospital visits to help you through this difficult time. Call John at 352-558-8480 or contact him online today.