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Can Wearing a Seatbelt Increase Risk of Injury or Death in a Car Accident?

By Dallas Personal Injury Attorney on August 19, 2015

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 54 in the United States. In 2012, there were more than 2.2 million adults treated in American emergency departments due to car accidents. And yet, despite the obvious danger of our roadways, many drivers refuse to wear their seatbelts, some even saying that it can increase your risk of injury or death in a collision by trapping you in the vehicle. Is this even true?

On the CDC’s fact sheet, the information says no. Collision reports and collected medical data, time and time again, show no indication that seatbelts will actually increase injuries during a car accident. In fact, the CDC estimates that seatbelts reduce serious crash-related injuries and fatalities by about 50%. So, why do people believe that a lifesaving device is actually a death trap?

Dispelling the Myths Around Seatbelt Dangers

There are many excuses for people not wearing seatbelts. Following are some of those reasons and why they are not accurate:

  1. “I’m a good driver”: This could absolutely be true but no amount of skill will ever protect you from the mistakes or negligence of another driver.
  2. “I will get trapped in the car”: Some statistics show that you are 25 times more likely to be fatally injured if you are thrown out of your vehicle in a crash. Staying inside protects you from the debris, metal, and glass of a harsh collision, not to mention the traffic around you.
  3. “Seatbelts are uncomfortable”: It can be hard to argue against someone’s personal opinion on comfort, but it is easy to point out that a serious injury, such as a broken bone, is going to feel much worse.
  4. “I have an airbag”: It is a common misconception that airbags have replaced seatbelts. In reality, they are meant to be used in conjunction. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that airbags are 40% more effective at preventing serious injury when the driver or passenger was also wearing a seatbelt.

The short of it is that seatbelts are installed in every car for a reason: they help prevent injuries in the event of a collision. But wearing one does not guarantee that you will be totally unharmed in a car accident. If you have been struck by negligent driver and suffered painful injury, contact Lenahan Law Firm today to speak to a Dallas car accident lawyer you can depend on.

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