Can Wearing A Seat Belt Increase Risk Of Injury In A Crash?
Despite the obvious danger of our roadways, many drivers flat out refuse to wear their seat belts.
Some even go so far as to claim that seat belts can increase your risk of injury or death in a collision by trapping you in the vehicle.
Is this even true?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the answer is no.
Collision reports and collected medical data, time and time again, show no indication that seat belts 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%.
But you probably already knew that answer.
More Myths About Seat Belt Dangers
- 1. “I will get trapped in the car”: The number of times this has occurred is minute. Staying inside protects you from the debris, metal, and glass of a harsh collision. Seat belts also help to prevent head injury and stay conscious. It’s easier to get out of a car when you’re conscious – seat belt or not.
- 2. “Seat belts are uncomfortable”: A study specifically researching seat belt comfort found that, once the seat belts were adjusted properly, most of the subjects were far more comfortable in their seat. Still, personal opinion on comfort is hard to argue. However, it is easy to point out that a serious injury, such as a broken bone, is going to feel much worse.
- 3. “I have an airbag”: It is a common misconception that airbags have replaced seat belts. 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 seat belt.
- 4. “If I’m thrown, I’ll be thrown out of the wreckage“: Statistically speaking, no. You are four times more likely to die if you are thrown from the vehicle.
- 5. “I’m not putting anyone else in danger“: While you might think that not wearing a seatbelt only puts you at risk, think again. If you are the driver, and you begin to lose control, being strapped in may help you maintain enough control to lessen a crash. As a passenger, you may fly into the driver’s lap, making it even harder for them to regain control, or causing them to turn the wheel the other direction.
The bottom line is that as personal injury lawyers we hear two things about seatbelts: the first is “Thank God I was wearing my seat belt” the other is “If only I could go back and put on my seatbelt.”
When crashes happen, you’ll wish your seat belt was on.
The short of it is that seat belts are installed in every car for a reason: they help prevent injuries in the event of a collision. Seat belts are fantastic, but they aren’t magical. There are no guarantees that you won’t be injured in a crash simply because you were wearing one. If you are injured in a crash, seat belt or not, call us at 314.444.4444.