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Why Don’t People Wear Their Seat Belts?
A 60-year-old woman is in serious condition after flying halfway through the windshield during an accident outside of Houston. The accident occurred around 11 p.m on Saturday. A woman driving a gray pickup truck was turning left on a busy highway in Baytown, despite a flashing yellow light, and turned in front of an older model pickup truck being driven by a 45 year-old man. The pickups collided head-one and one of the trucks to roll into a ditch. The passenger of that vehicle was not wearing her seat belt and flew through the window.
Today I spoke to a woman whose son had pulled off the road to text but when he drove back on to the highway, he hit a Jeep, causing its unbelted driver to be ejected. The man was unfortunately killed in north Forth Worth last weekend.
Yesterday, after a hard fought mediation, I was happy to finally hand a large settlement check to my seat belted client who had been seriously injured in this near fatal crash on north of Fort Worth. My client’s car shown to the left drove into an 18 wheeler trailer at 65 miles an hour when it suddenly pulled across the road in front of her, then stopped, The truck company initially denied liability. Two years later, my poor client is still injured and has to pick out shards of glass from her face and body, so I can only imagine the trauma that the Baytown woman will go through.
Seat Belt Use is Mandatory in Texas
Of course, Texas has a primary seat belt law that requires everyone in a vehicle to wear a seat belt. This means that you can be ticketed for not wearing your seat belt even if you committed no other traffic offense.
The threat of a ticket encourages occupants to buckle up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt use was about 12 percent greater in states with primary seat belt laws than those with secondary laws.
And the fact that a person was not using his seat belt can now be used against him if he files a lawsuit to recover his bodily injury and other damages, according to a recent Texas Supreme Court decision.
Seat Belts Save Lives
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that wearing a seat belt reduces severe accident injuries and fatalities by about half. The CDC explains that airbags are not a substitute for seat belts, but instead work with seat belts to offer the highest level of protection for adults.
A seat belt stops your body from moving forward when your vehicle suddenly decelerates. Otherwise, if you are travelling at 50 mph when your car hits an object, your body continues at this rate of speed until stopped by another object, be it the steering wheel, the dashboard or the windshield.
The importance of seat belt use is obvious. Sadly, the woman involved in the head-on collision on Saturday may have sustained much less severe injuries or avoided injuries altogether just by putting on her seat belt.