The Fashion to Fasten - How Seatbelts Save Lives
It's no secret that driving a car is dangerous. At high speeds, the human body can only withstand a certain amount of punishment before a severe injury occurs. Over time, several inventions have helped to drastically reduce the dangers of driving. Perhaps the most important of these is the seatbelt.
Children and Seatbelts
In the state of Florida, laws have existed regarding the use of seat belts since 1986. Children are required by Florida law to wear either a seatbelt or a child safety restraint while traveling in a motor vehicle. More specifically, children ages 3 and younger are required to be restrained in a federally-approved child restraint system. Children ages 4 through 5 have the option of using a seatbelt or the restraint system previously mentioned. It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure that any child passengers are properly observing the laws regarding seatbelts. For an article about proper child restraints, click here.
Is it ever ok not to wear a seatbelt?
In addition to children riding in motor vehicles, it is unlawful for any person - regardless of age - to ride in a car in the front seat without a seatbelt equipped. While it may not appear that a seatbelt does much good the majority of the time that you are wearing it, you must always wear one. It is not worth the potential hazard you will face if you get into an accident. These laws are in place to protect those who follow them, and have proven to reduce severe injuries and fatalities that result from a collision.
How do seatbelts help?
While traveling in a car, any passengers inside of the vehicle are traveling at the same speed of the vehicle. In the event of a collision, the car is often stopped abruptly. Unfortunately, this means that if a collision occurs, the passengers will be moving faster than the car is. Seatbelts are in place not to stop passengers when they are involved in such circumstances, but to safely slow down the passengers once the car begins to stop. If there were no seatbelt to decelerate the passenger, the risk of injury, or even death, would be substantially higher.
Recent Seatbelt Laws
Within the past few years, Florida has started to crack down on people who choose not to wear their seatbelts. As of 2009, the law which makes it illegal to be unrestrained while riding in a car, is now a primary law. This means that a police officer can pull you over and issue a citation simply if you are not wearing your seatbelt. In the past officers could only cite you for not wearing your seatbelt if you were already pulled over for an infraction, such as speeding. While people may think that it is ridiculous to be pulled over for something as simple as not wearing a seatbelt, this enforcement will save lives.
With more cars on the roadways the commute has become increasingly congested and dangerous. Studies have shown that accidents and collisions occur more frequently in low-speed environments than their high speed counterparts. And more congestion means more low-speed environments. Of course high-speed environments such as freeways and interstates can be even riskier because the likelihood of severe injury increases with speed.
This is why seatbelts are crucial. One of the best ways to protect yourself and others requires very little effort. Think about it this way - putting on a belt every day is easy right? Simply remember the fashion to fasten. Because life is always in style.
Author: Christine Harrison