When we get behind the wheel of the car, we accept the risks associated with driving. Car crashes can happen for many reasons, but there are preventable steps we can take to reduce injury. One of the easiest and more effective preventable things we can do is put on our seat belts correctly.
From a young age, we all should’ve been counseled to put on our seat belt as one of the very first actions when getting into the car. The US Department of Transportations has coordinated with many agencies to advertise and educate the public on proper seat belt placement and safety. The shoulder belt should lie across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat. The lap belt is low and snug across the hips and pelvic bone, not over the belly.
Parents are instructed to have their infants and children in proper car seats and safety restraints.
- Children should ride rear facing at least two years of age and 30 pounds. Parents should check their car seat height and weight limits, as some seats may have higher seat limits.
- Children can ride forward facing with a harness until at least the age of four and 40 pounds.
- Once larger than 40 pounds and who are older than four years old, can use a booster seat with the vehicle seat belt fit correctly until 4’9”.
- All children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat.
If you’re unsure if your car seat is properly installed or if the straps are correctly positioned, you can have your car seats properly inspected by a certified child passenger safety technician. These guidelines are recommended for safety but you should use your best judgement and know that staying rear facing and in harnesses for as long as possible is safest. Also note, you can receive a car seat violation starting at $45 if your child is improperly restrained while driving in your vehicle.
Utah’s Public Health IBIS conducted a survey of safety restrain use.
“Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are one of the leading causes of injury death and hospitalization in Utah. Seat belts are the single most effective safety device for preventing serious injuries and reducing fatalities in MVCs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In Utah for 2015-2019, there were 305 deaths to unrestrained occupants.
NHTSA has found that deaths and serious injuries caused by MVCs could be reduced by approximately 50 percent with proper and consistent use of safety belts. NHTSA also found that if all 50 states achieved 90 percent seat belt usage, it would result in an overall total cost savings of $5.5 billion.1”
Car accidents can result in severe injury and even death. In the state of Utah, you can still receive compensation for your injuries and property damage from an accident even if you were not wearing your seat belt and another driver is at fault. If you’re in an accident McMullin Injury Law can help you navigate your case. We want you safe, so practice safe driving practices and buckle up.