Car Accident Injuries And Failure To Use Seat Belts: Injury Lawyer Speaks Out

Click-it-ticket-300x200I’ve seen far too many car wreck injuries caused by people not using seat belts. This angers me.

I was reminded of this today when I read that nine members of a North Texas family were injured after their minivan was rear ended and flipped over into a ditch on I-30. Seven children were hurt, with one in critical condition. Some weren’t restrained and were ejected from the car. That’s inexcusable.

I want to again call attention to this serious problem to try to stop these senseless injuries.

Everyone must know that it’s the law that front and back seat passengers have to buckle up. Texas has a tough primary enforcement law where a police officer can issue you a misdemeanor citation even if no other traffic law has been violated. The ticket can cost up to $250.00 plus court costs.

If that doesn’t get your attention, presumably everyone knows that seat belts reduce the likelihood of injuries and deaths.

Statistics compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show that

  • Seat belts have saved the lives of over 300,000 people;
  • They reduce the risk of injuries and death by almost 50%, and higher in pickup trucks and SUVs; and
  • Six teenagers die in car crashes a day with over half not wearing a seat belt

And since all of us had to pass driver’s education and the DPS test, you have to wonder why the largest group not wear seat belts are teenagers and young adults.

Still not convinced you should wear a seat belt? If you are injured and file a lawsuit to recover your damages, the Texas Supreme Court ruled two years ago in the case of Nabors vs. Romero that if your failure to restrain yourself caused or even contributed to your injuries, you are barred from a recovery.

Texas requirements about seat belt usage

Our state law is codified in the Transportation Code, Section 545.413, You can be punished if you are 15 years of age or older and fail to wear a seat belt. You can also be punished if you allow your passenger who is less than 17 years old to ride in your vehicle without buckling up.

Any child who is less than eight years old must be secured in a properly approved child safety seat as follows:

From birth to one year old, and if the child weighs up to 35 pounds, a seat that faces to the rear must be used. Further, the clip on the chest piece must be able to be secured under the armpit of the baby and the harness that holds the baby must be fastened so it fits snugly against the body.

From one to four years old, and when the child weighs 2o to 40 pounds, the seat should face forward.

From four years to eight years, and when the child weighs over 40 pounds, a booster seat can be used.

More information about what the law requires is here.

So don’t even think about using a lame excuse like I’m just going around the corner.  Please drive safely and buckle up!

 

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