The Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office recently released a report that about 50% of traffic fatalities resulted from lack of seatbelt use. Authorities are changing the game this year in an effort to increase statewide use of safety restraints. Those changes include stiffer penalties and ad campaigns to increase public education about this important issue.
Why aren’t Tennessee residents wearing seatbelts?
Simply put, people don’t wear seatbelts because they just don’t realize how important seatbelts truly are. Seatbelts save lives; countless studies and safety reports confirm that not wearing a seatbelt is far more dangerous than wearing one. But how do you convince someone to buckle up? The following are the top three arguments and their answers from the Governors Highway Safety Association:
- I’m afraid of getting stuck in a crashed car. If you’re not buckled up at the time of a crash, you’re more likely to be killed or knocked unconscious and unable to get out of the car at all. If you are buckled up, you’re more likely to stay in place and remain conscious, in control of the vehicle, and able to make smart decisions.
- It irritates the skin on my neck or chest. Most newer vehicles have adjustable shoulder height positioners that let you to move the shoulder belt up or down for a more comfortable fit. In older cars, wear clothes with a higher neck to provide some extra padding.
- It makes me feel restrained. That’s what it’s supposed to do. In a crash, it keeps you in your seat so you won’t be thrown around or out of the vehicle where you’re four times more likely to be killed than if you remain the car. Driver side seat belts are designed to allow free movement of the occupant until a crash occurs (or until you jam on your breaks!).
Far from being on the rise, Tennessee has actually seen a decrease in seatbelt use over the past years. The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is going on the offense; a campaign called “Seatbelts Are For Everyone” started on February 1 and will run through August 1. The campaign involves local high schools and will reward those schools with the highest seatbelt use.
Change starts with you
We commend the GHSO’s initiative in tackling this problem. Our own office has adopted the American Association for Justice’s Safe Driving Policy to keep our employees and their families safe on the roads. We encourage you to do the same for your friends and family.
Even when seatbelts are involved, car accidents can cause serious injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured in a wreck, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced Nashville, Gallatin and Knoxville auto accident attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.