While not all car accidents result in serious injuries, many people take precautions to minimize the outcome should a crash occur. For most this entails the simple act of buckling one’s seat belt.
According to a report issued earlier this month by the Governors Highway Safety Association, teen drivers are not bucking up as much as those in other demographics. This trend not only impacts those behind the wheel of the vehicle, but passengers as well. While 51 percent of teen drivers who died in car accidents in 2012 were not properly restrained with a seat belt at the time of the accident, more than 60 percent of passengers failed to put their seat belt on.
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The numbers are even more upsetting when focusing strictly on the state of Pennsylvania. In 2012 a total of 106 teens residing in the state died in car accidents. Of that number, all but 14 failed to buckle up. Though it is unknown whether any of the 92 teens killed in car accidents in 2012 would have lived had they been wearing a seat belt, it is likely that it would have affected the severity of the injuries suffered.
To try to improve the use of seat belts by teens the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation launched a campaign to try to reach the drivers. In addition to a week of heighted enforcement, the focus of two preceding weeks is education. The program also ran in 2013 and March 2014.
Regardless of whether someone involved in a car crash was wearing a seat belt at the time, or not, a civil claim to recoup damages may be filed.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,”Young drivers still aren’t buckling up enough,” Matt Nussbaum, July 10, 2014