Wearing a seatbelt is not only required by Florida law, but it can also save your life. Around 40,000 people die every year in car accidents, and the main cause of death among people aged 3 to 34 is failure to wear a seatbelt.
Safety belts could have prevented deaths in about half of these accidents. In 2008, during the day, 45% of passengers that died in crashes were not wearing their seatbelts. During nights in 2008, 64% of occupants of passenger vehicles that died in crashes were not wearing their seatbelts. The facts speak for themselves, it does not make sense to drive anywhere without a seatbelt on.
A properly worn safety belt prevents serious body collisions from happening. “Properly worn” means that both straps are adjusted to transfer the impact of the collision to the parts of your body that can support it: the hips and shoulders. With only the shoulder strap on, you can still slip out and strangle, while the lap belt alone does not prevent your face from hitting the steering wheel.
Before driving, always buckle up and make sure that all of your passengers are wearing child restraints or belts. Studies have shown that if you suffer an accident while wearing a seatbelt, your chances of getting hurt or losing your life are greatly reduced.
This is the Correct Way to use the Seatbelt:
- A shoulder harness is worn across the shoulder and chest with minimal, if any, slack. The shoulder harness should not be worn under the arm or behind the back. Wearing the harness incorrectly could cause serious internal injuries in a crash.
- The lap belt should be adjusted so that it fits snugly below your hips after buckling it. If you have an automatic shoulder belt, be sure to buckle your lap belt as well. Otherwise, in a collision, it could slip out of the belt and you could be seriously injured or killed.
- You must sit up with your back against the seat and your feet on the floor. Sitting in improper positions, such as slouching or resting your feet on the dashboard can reduce the effectiveness of the vehicle’s restraint system and possibly cause injury.
- Safety belts should be used even if the vehicle is equipped with airbags. While airbags provide good protection against the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield, they do not protect you if the car is hit on the side or the rear, or if the vehicle is turned over. An airbag will not be enough to keep you behind the wheel in these situations.
- The law requires all children under the age of 12 to be secured in the back seat and in appropriate safety seats while the vehicle is in motion.
Do not forget that the correct usage of the safety belt, both for the driver, as well as for adult passengers and children, can save your life. Buckle up!