At this point, it’s safe to assume “everyone knows” how important seat belts are. We’ve seen the PSAs and read the statistics. But even though there have been many efforts among organizations and advocates to encourage people to always wear their seat belts, many drivers and passengers still fail to wear them from time to time, which can result in death or severe injury.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 89% of Pennsylvanians used seat belts in 2020. This is excellent news. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation stated that more than 50% of drivers who died in motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania that same year were not wearing seat belts. The data is very clear: not wearing your seat belt increases the chances that you, or someone you love, will sustain a fatal injury in a car crash.
How does a seat belt keep you safe?
Seat belts keep you safe by keeping you in place. They prevent you from crashing through a window, or being thrown around your vehicle. As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explains:
Even though a vehicle may have slowed or stopped after colliding with another vehicle or object, unbelted occupants keep moving at the same travel speed until they catch up with and crash into what’s in front of them. Seat belts help to prevent or reduce injuries from this second collision by securing people to their seats so they slow down with the vehicle as its crush zone absorbs most of the kinetic energy associated with the vehicle and the occupant’s precrash motion. The longer people “ride down” a crash, the less likely they are to be injured.
Worn properly, seat belts are designed to spread crash forces across the stronger bony parts of the body, including the shoulder, rib cage and pelvis.
Many people do not realize that they are wearing their seat belts incorrectly. An improperly-worn seat belt will not effectively keep you safe. The following are the steps to properly wear a seat belt:
- Pull the seat belt around you and ensure that the shoulder belt is across your chest and on your shoulder.
- Buckle the seat belt after making sure that it is right below your stomach.
- Make sure that the seat belt is close-fitting over your pelvic bone and hips.
It is strongly recommended to never place the seat belt on top of your stomach, behind your back, or under your arm. Even though this may feel more comfortable, it will not keep you safe and secure during an accident.
Wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to keep you and your passengers safe while in a motor vehicle. These safety tools are placed in every car, truck, and SUV to keep people safe and secure inside the vehicle when a Hanover car crash occurs.
Can I get in legal trouble for not wearing a seat belt in Hanover, PA?
In Pennsylvania, all drivers and front-seat passengers who are eight years old or older are required to wear a seat belt. Children under the age of eight are required to be in a car seat or booster seat that is federally approved.
If you are caught by law enforcement for not wearing a seat belt, you will need to pay a fine of $10 along with court fees. If your children are not in proper restraining systems, you will receive a fine of $75. While these fines are not expensive, the risk of putting yourself or your children in danger is not worth it.
How do you test your seat belts?
Whether you buy a car brand new or used, it is important that you test the seat belts often. There are a few steps to doing this, which include:
- Looking at the fabric of the seat belt: When you are looking at the fabric of a seat belt, you want to make sure that it is not worn out, cut, or falling apart.
- Checking out the buckle: Ensure that the buckle is not rusted or broken. Try to buckle the seat belt and see if it easily buckles and unbuckles without unneeded force.
- Trying on the belt: Sit in the seat and place the belt across your chest and lap to make sure that it fits snug. If the belt is too loose, it will not keep you secure in a car accident.
When should you replace your seat belts?
It is important that you replace your seat belts about every 10 years. However, if you are in a car accident or notice that your seat belts have visual signs of being worn out or not properly working, you may need to replace them sooner. Some manufacturers have lifetime warranties on seat belts and will replace them for you for free. If your car was bought used, you may want to replace the seat belts before you begin driving it.
Where to get help with car seats in Hanover, PA
Car seats ensure that your children are safe and secure when in a vehicle. There are three different types of car seats, which include the rear-facing car seat, front-facing car seat, and booster seat. As the child ages, they will move up to different car seats. For example, an infant will be placed in a rear-facing car seat, and a child between the ages four to eight will be placed in a booster seat.
If you are in Hanover, PA and having a hard time putting your car seat into a car, the Pennsylvania State Police will gladly assist you. All you need to do is go to your local police station and explain that you need help properly putting a car seat into a car, and a law enforcement officer will follow you to the car, inspect the car seat, and install it for free.
It is critical that you have a professional check out or install your car seat to make sure that it is secure and will not move more than one inch. The last thing you want to do is find out that it is loose or improperly installed when your child is already in it.
If you have been injured in a car accident, the injury lawyers at KBG Injury Law are available and ready to assist you. We will not only inform you of your rights, but we will also take the time to review the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and collect the proper evidence to build a strong case against the defendant. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. Our team is located in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and Gettysburg for your convenience.
The personal injury attorneys at KBG Injury Law are all experienced litigators. Almost all of them represented insurance companies prior to becoming advocates for injured people, which provides them with a unique perspective and insight into how these companies operate. They also offer extensive courtroom experience if going to trial is the best legal alternative for the client.