NEW YORK – The message has been kicked, punched and shoved into our brains for decades and the seat belt campaigns have paid off. In 1983, only 10 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers wore safety belts. Today, Nearly 90 percent of those riding in the front of a vehicle are strapped in.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates seat belts have saved over 300,000 lives but there are still many drivers and passengers who fail to use the safety feature.
“More than half of those killed in crashes last year weren’t wearing seat belts. It doesn’t matter if they were in the front seat or the back, many of these lives could’ve been saved by wearing a seat belt in New York,” personal injury lawyer Steve Barnes said.
A total of 20 states and the District of Columbia require seat belts to be used in all seating positions.
New York State only requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear a safety belt. The state has few regulations for passengers riding in the back seat of a vehicle.
Despite this, more passengers are wearing belts today than 10 or 20 years ago but car accident lawyers believe there would be fewer car accident injuries if safety belts are utilized in every seat of a vehicle.
“Some of these passengers get ejected during a crash and more than75 percent of the time, they get killed in that scenario,” Barnes said. “Sometimes, not wearing a seat belt can affect a personal injury case too.”
New York Lawyers said typically, whether a client was wearing a seat belt or not doesn’t come into evidence in a personal injury case but on rare occasions, courts can determine that not wearing a seat belt played a major role in the seriousness of an injury.